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Job fear for specialist nurses

30th April 2008

Specialist nurses across the NHS say they are in fear of losing their jobs, according to a Royal College of Nursing survey.

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It polled 330 specialist nurses and found that 20% felt they were at risk of redundancy or being downgraded and many did not feel their work was valued.

The RCN says it “beggars belief� that nurses specialising in areas such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease were worrying about their jobs at a time that the NHS is heading for a surplus of up to £1.8bn.

It said any cuts to the workforce would represent a colossal waste of money after spending ÂŁ20,000 over three years to train the specialist nurses.

Nurses affected work mainly in the community, though some are hospital based, and many have a remit that includes assessing, treating, diagnosing and referring of patients.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said specialist nurses were a gold-plated resource.

"The loss of just one of these highly-trained experts will have a disproportionate impact on patients,� he said. “These are the very nurses who will be at the centre of the government’s plans to deliver care closer to home and yet these same nurses are being treated as soft targets.�

Diabetes UK, said it was “absolutely ridiculous� that the jobs of specialist nurses were at risk with the NHS heading for such a huge surplus.

Health minister Ann Keen said the Department of Health was working closely with charities associated with these conditions to ensure the NHS made the best use of the skills of specialist nurses.

 

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