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Shock new figures reveal #NHS has axed 4,000 senior nurses since Tory-led coalition came to power

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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

Job cuts: NHS

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.”

Defend our #NHS: Protesters have set up an Occupy Camp on Stafford Hospital grounds #Tory #LibDems Hunt is forcing Hospital into closure #OccupySSH

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Mark Steel: The popular idea that all parties are the same is nonsense. But what voters yearn for is politicians with conviction, soul and humanity

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politicians with conviction, soul and humanity

There won’t be a legal battle for image rights over T-shirts showing ministers’ faces

 It’s a year until the general election, and there’s so little enthusiasm for the main parties that the only way to get more than a handful of people to vote at all may be to change the wording on the ballot paper. So it should begin, “Which of the following candidates do you find the least repellent?”

Then it would continue: “As a guide, imagine having to go on holiday with them all. Now, if there’s one that only makes you think ‘Oh Jesus please spare me no no no, I’ll become a nun and wear a smock smothered in extra hot chilli sauce for ever rather than that’, but the thought doesn’t actually make you physically retch so that sick comes down your nose and you get a taste of a chipolata you had last Tuesday, place an X by the name of that candidate.”

That’s why, when the opinion polls say Labour are on 35 and the Conservatives on 34, it’s not percentage points, it’s their total number of supporters in the country.

It can look as if the next general election will be the first in which the results for each constituency could be read out by the man who does the football scores, and go “Labour 1 ConSERVatives 1; Liberal Democrats nil, Labour ONE.”

There’s a website that tries to encourage people to vote called “Who Should I Vote For?” It asks for your views on a range of issues, then tells you which party you’re closest to. But it makes the mistake of assuming that policies are the same as the reality. For example, the Liberal Democrats’ policy, in theory, is still to abolish tuition fees. But if you vote for them on that basis you are clearly insane and aren’t allowed to vote anyway.

You might as well vote for the recaptured prison absconder Skull Cracker, on the grounds that his policy is to soothe skulls and create an aura of calm and tranquillity.

It’s not the policies of the major parties that deter people; it’s their essence. Otherwise a website could say, “You said you’re opposed to the bombing of Iraq, wish to encourage film-making, and hope Katie Price is never again allowed on television. So in the European elections you should vote al-Qa’ida.”

The overwhelming sentiment of the age is “they’re all the bloody same”. That can’t be true, as for example two of them introduced the bedroom tax, and the other one wants to abolish it. And there can’t be many who’d say that “introducing, abolishing, scrapping, trebling – all these words mean the bloody same, bloody adjectives, sod the lot of them”.

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