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OPINION

'The impact of cuts on care cannot be ignored'

  • 5 Comments

The warning signs are mounting that cuts to NHS services are starting to have a noticeable impact on patients and the nurses who are attempting to care for them.

The warnings are also mounting that we must learn the lessons of the past if we are to avoid catastrophic care failings.

An investigation this week by Nursing Times reveals the plans made by the most financially challenged trusts in England to make the massive savings required of them. It does not make for cheerful reading - hundreds of posts are earmarked to go and skill-mix reviews are in the offing.

Nigel Edwards, interim chief executive of the NHS Confederation - yes, a management voice - warns those planning the cuts should be mindful of what happened at Mid Staffs after the narrow-sighted pursuit of financial targets over care standards.

Separate figures collected by Nursing Times also reveal that the number of nurse job vacancies advertised on the NHS Jobs website has plummeted to below 1,000.

Taken all together, this evidence should start alarms bells well and truly ringing, especially when added to last month’s King’s Fund warning that NHS waiting times are at their highest level for three years and news that a Conservative peer, Baroness Staples, had to wait for nearly five hours on a trolley at St Thomas’.
This week the bell should also ring a bit louder as Unison is due to reveal results from a survey of 2,500 nurses - 80% of whom say managers are making cuts.

So far, however, the government seems determined to turn a deaf ear to the cuts - while apparently prepared to listen with the other to concerns about its reform agenda. But ministers must be made to take their earplugs out. As last month’s RCN Congress showed, the profession has a very loud voice when it wants to.

We know reducing nursing staff numbers and diluting its skill mix has a negative impact on morbidity and mortality. The consequences if the cuts continue do not bear thinking about.

  • 5 Comments

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Readers' comments (5)

  • I would just like to know why exactly, when trusts/government think of cost cutting, they immediately and without compunction start thinking of frontline clinical staff??!!?? Where is the logic behind that exactly? I mean fair enough we may be one of the biggest expenditures, but we are also VITAL!!!! Without us, there IS no hospitals or health service!!

    There are far easier and quicker ways to make 'cuts' than simply attacking Nurses every time!

    The ONLY way to force the government to listen (and not simply give banal platitudes) is direct and confrontational strike action.

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  • remember not so long ago take an incremet freeze and we will safeguard your job

    what a load of crap that was, these jobs would of gone anyway!!!

    why is this govt determined to destroy our nhs??

    they are pressing ahead with this re-organisation that nobody wants apart from the private companies who bankroll the tories..funny old thing!!

    and they are ignoring what is going on right under thier big fat noses...thousands of front line staff are loosing their jobs!!

    sorry must remember their pledge "WE WILL PROTECT THE NHS"

    we are going back to the dark old days of thatcher..remember them..how nice life was then for the working class eh!!

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  • Anonymous | 11-May-2011 1:03 pm you are absolutely right. No one in their right mind believed that our jobs would be safe, they just wanted to add insult to injury and cut our pay too!!!!

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  • It's part of the strategy of the Tories, folks - Mark Britnell, a senior advisor to the PM, told a Conference of executives from private sector that the future plans of the gvt would show "no mercy" to the NHS and offer A 'big opportunity" for the private sector. Reduce some of the overheads, make the service more profitable, and sell off the NHS to the big companies waiting in the wings. The gvt see the NHS as A body that provides health insurance not delivery of healthcare. Britnell is advising a co-payment system where the gvt pay a bit of your bill and you pay the rest.

    In the complete absence of any leadership from the unions to do anything about this, our only option left may be to lobby Mr Clegg

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  • Anonymous | 15-May-2011 5:18 pm Where did you get that information from about what Mark Britnell said? Is there any chance of a link or more info as I would be very interested in reading more. If that was actually said, it is absolutely appalling. You make an excellent point though, our so called unions are being extremely conspicuous by their absence all of a sudden, there was a bit of noise a while back, but where is the sustained action? Where is the follow up to what was said at the RCN congress? What a bloody joke!

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