The NHS has been left with almost 4000 fewer senior nursing staff than in 2010, according to the latest Frontline First Report published today by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The report reveals that within the wider nursing workforce cuts there are 3994 fewer full time equivalent (FTE) nursing staff working in senior positions (bands 7 and 8). Staff working at these bands includes community matrons, advanced nurse practitioners, ward sisters and clinical nurse specialists.
The lack of senior nursing staff can result in a significant loss and devaluation of skills and experience in the NHS as it means that specialist clinical knowledge and leadership is being lost, according to Dr Peter Carter, the chief executive and general secretary of the RCN.
‘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.
‘In the community, senior and specialist nurses often work with a great deal of autonomy and are often solely responsible for patients. It is these patients who are affected when these posts are removed.
‘Just as worryingly is the loss of specialist clinical skills and experience which is inevitable when so many band 7 and 8 nursing posts are cut or left vacant. 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,' he said.
Workforce data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre from 2010 to 2013 confirms that many of the senior nursing posts have been lost, with 997 fewer FTE modern matrons (a 20.4 per cent decrease), and 187 fewer FTE community matrons (a 12.2 per cent decrease) (HSCIC, 2014b).
To read the full report visit: https://www.rcn.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/564739/004598.pdf