Shock new figures reveal NHS has axed 4,000 senior nurses since Tory-led coalition came to power
Those dumped include ward sisters, community matrons, clinical nurse specialists and advanced nurse practitioners
Almost 4,000 senior nurses have been axed since the Tory-led coalition came to power, shock figures revealed last night.
The Royal College of Nursing said the NHS should be doing “everything it can” to keep the experience of skilled staff.
But it accused the Government of pursuing a “reckless policy” that meant 3,994 senior nursing posts have been lost since 2010.
These include wards sisters, community matrons, clinical nurse specialists and advanced nurse practitioners.
The RCN accused the Government of treating such staff as “disposable” and eyeing them as a “quick way to save money”.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said: “Nurses have been telling us for some time that workforce reorganisations are disproportionately targeted at more senior staff with key specialist or leadership roles. This is something which has a knock-on effect on all staff, and most importantly on patient care.
“As more patients require complex care from specialist nurses, letting so many years of skills and experience vanish from the NHS is an utterly reckless policy.
“We are facing a Europe-wide shortage of nursing staff and the last thing the NHS should be doing at this time is treating its highly experienced staff as disposable.
“We need to be doing everything we can to retain the skills we have in the NHS rather than using them as a quick and easy way to make savings. These cuts are a short-term attempt by trusts to find efficiency savings, yet they will lead to a very serious and very long-term crisis in our health service.”
Labour’s shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: “While we know that good ward leadership is important for care quality, it is clear that the Government has not learnt the lessons of the Francis Report. Patients are paying the price for their arrogance.”
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “We know clinical leadership by healthcare professionals matters – that’s why we’re investing £40million in leadership training for ward sisters, senior nurses and midwives to create a new generation of leaders in our nursing workforce.”