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Staff cuts 'affecting patient care'


Staff reductions and increasing workloads are causing patient care to suffer, nurses and midwives have revealed.

A survey conducted by Unison has found that 75% of those surveyed have seen an increase in the number of patients they have treated in the last year, while two-thirds have considered leaving the NHS.

Around 88% think that during first year of the coalition government their workload has increased, and 65% said the rise is hitting patient care and safety.

More than 2,000 nurses and midwives were questioned for the poll, which also revealed that 61% had witnessed a drop in staff numbers in their department.

This could be attributed to redundancy, positions not being filled after staff leave or retire and less reliance on temporary staff.

More than 78% of those surveyed said their employer was making staff and budget cuts, with 36% reporting redundancies at their workplace.

Of just over 500 staff who knew how many posts had been cut, 60% said fewer than 90 posts were going, 24% said more than 100 and 10% said more than 200. Just over 6% of staff knew of more than 500 job losses at their NHS trust.

Overall, 67% of nurses and midwives said increasing workloads had impacted on their own health, with 69% saying their job was bad for family life.

Gail Adams, Unison head of nursing, said: “The results of this damning survey are both sad and shocking.

“Nurses and midwives see first hand the damage that the government’s cuts are inflicting on patient care, so it is perhaps not surprising that 65% say they have considered leaving the NHS.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We are passionate about the NHS and want to safeguard it for the future.

“We are investing ¬£11.5 billion of funding and reinvesting every penny of efficiency savings back into frontline care, meaning ¬£1.7 billion a year by 2014/15 will be reinvested to improve services for patients.

“But the NHS must change to safeguard its future. That is why we are modernising it, by giving more power to doctors and nurses and by stripping away bureaucracy.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • what do you expect with the tories in charge

    they dont care one bit about the nhs, job losses etc as long as thier banker friends and the rich get richer

    thatcher days are returning, god help us all!!

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  • Lets not forget that it was Labour than landed us in a lot of this financial crap; they spent & spent in the decade they were in power. Although I don't agree with the wholesale slashing of services and staff, and ruination of the NHS, we can't blame it all on the tories, especially as they are in coalition with the lib dems.

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  • I feel that a lot of cuts in front line services are made by pushing other work onto nurses that has to be fitted in with patient care. It is still a cut in nursing time. Perhaps one of the most ridiculous things we are expected to add to our already crammed workloads is spending time collecting evidence for CQC - fancy taking time away from care to gather evidence about the standard of care. Some of this work is being pushed our way due to admin cuts. There are an endlessly growing number of committees and sub groups, all of which take time away from patient care.

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  • Adrian Bolt

    Anonymous | 12-May-2011 6:43 pm

    No, Labour landed us in ALL of this financial crap. The economic wheels came of this particular bandwagon during their watch.

    The Tories are in coalition with the Lib-dems? Oh I hadn’t noticed.

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  • THat news to me how?

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  • All governments are as bad as one and other. they all treat the nhs like crap. dont give nurses or doctors any respect make sure that they can live to a nice standarded have there pay increases and expencess paid. but to do this they need to save money lets think whos unions dont make to much fuss oh yea the health unions so lets cut there budget these ill people are a nusences they should have health insurance so we can make more money and go on more overseas holidays which the public pay for wake up nurses and doctoers want to care for people who are less fortunate that you but need wages to survive and enough staff to maintain a saff enviorment for the patients it wont be the government that will be taken to court when soomething goes wrong due to lack of staff it will be the nurse or doctor who was so tiered rushe d of thier feet having no breaks etc who will we need to work to rule then see how the govenment cope with the problem but nurse would never put patients at risk

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