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Number of NHS nurses plummeting

Friday September 28th 2012

New statistics show that the total number of nurses and midwives employed by the NHS has dropped by nearly 6,000 in the past couple of years.

The figures, which come from the Health And Social Care Information Centre, show that the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff has plummeted by 5,748 since April 2010.

As many as 840 positions were cut between May and June this year and the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has warned that the changes will have a damaging effect.

"You simply can't take out this many posts without profoundly affecting patient care," said Peter Carter.

"Our members have been highlighting the posts being slashed by NHS trusts for more than two years now, and we have proved that more than 60,000 posts are at risk."

He added that the loss of even one nurse from a community nursing team means the time they spend with patients was significantly reduced and he insisted that the cuts in the number of jobs would actually end up costing the NHS money in the long-term.

"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," he said.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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