Almost 6,000 fewer nurses in NHS since election

Since April 2010 the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff has fallen by 5,748, according to data from the Health And Social Care Information Centre.Almost 6,000 fewer nurses in NHS since electionBetween May and June this year 840 posts were lost in England.

The Royal College of Nursing said removing posts from the NHS would hit patient care and end up costing the health service more in the long run.

The NHS is in the middle of a £20 billion efficiency drive but ministers said where savings were made the money would be ploughed back into front line health services.

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said nursing posts cannot be removed from the NHS without affecting patient care.

He said: “You simply can’t take out this many posts without profoundly affecting patient care. One nurse being taken off a ward or out of a community nursing team can make a huge difference to the time the rest of the team can spend with patients.”

“A reduction on this scale, happening over a short period of time, is something that the NHS as a whole will struggle to adapt to. It will also cost the health service money in the long run, as patients will start to be admitted to hospital unnecessarily.”

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “There are always fluctuations in the workforce, and the reality is that there are almost a thousand more clinical staff working in the NHS than there were in May 2010, including nearly 3,500 more doctors, and over 900 extra midwives.

“And the number of staff delivering NHS services in the community is estimated to have risen by 25,000 in recent years, but not all these people are taken into account by the central official statistics.”

“In contrast, the number of admin staff has fallen by over 18,000. This is creating savings that will help protect the NHS for future generations.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said there is expected to be an influx of new nurses taking up NHS posts from September after they finish their training and added that the figures do not include nurses working for local authorities or the private sector.


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