The Royal College of Nursing has reported that more than 60,000 frontline jobs in the NHS including those of nurses are at risk.
Among those at risk are community nurses (which includes District Nurses, school nurses and other healthcare workers) which means that the Government’s plans to move care from acute hospitals to community sites are a “façade”.
The RCN surveyed more than 2,500 community nurses during April; a mere 6% of those polled said that they always had time to meet the needs of their patients, whilst a “startling” 89% reported an increase in their case loads from last year.
According to the Guardian, in England, the NHS community nursing workforce fell in 2011, with 1,995 fewer nurses, midwives and health visitors employed, official NHS statistics show.
The RCN states that “these results raise major concerns about the capacity of community services to deal with an increasing number of acutely ill patients”.
Dr Peter Carter, the RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, said NHS community services were “overburdened, under-invested and at risk from cutbacks”.
He warned: “Very soon, patients will be left with nowhere to turn. This is a revolving door for patients, but it also represents a false economy at a time when there is no money to spare… This is a harsh reminder that both acute and community care are overloaded and the staffing levels are so low in both that there can be nowhere for patients to turn.”
Simon Burns, the Health Minister, said he did not recognise the RCN’s figures.
He said that “Official statistics show that there are only 450 fewer qualified nursing staff in England than in September 2009 while the number of managers has been slashed by 15 per cent”.