Specialist nurses save millions of pounds a year by reducing emergency admissions and readmissions to hospital, RCN research has shown.
The RCN hopes the study will add weight to arguments that specialist nursing posts should not be targeted in response to the public spending squeeze.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “While the temptation may be to cut or downgrade specialist nursing roles as the drive to make efficiency savings gathers pace, whoever wins the general election must realise that this would be a false economy which would only add to the growing cost of treating long term conditions.”
The report found that rheumatology specialist nurses free up hundreds of doctors’ appointments by providing telephone support and managing outpatient appointments, increasing efficiency in the NHS by around £100m pounds a year.
The findings are based on a study of 99 rheumatology specialist nurses spread across the four countries of the UK.
The RCN published the report at the organisation’s annual congress in Bournemouth. Earlier, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had pledged to provide more specialist nurses if Labour returned to power.