Front-line nursing jobs in Sussex at risk

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DESPITE government assurances that front-line NHS posts would be protected, a damning report claims 75 nursing jobs could be cut in Sussex.

The investigation, by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), looked at 21 NHS trusts based across the country, including Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which covers Meadowfield, based at Swandean Hospital in Arundel Road, Worthing.

The report was revealed at the college’s annual congress on Monday, and comes less than a week after a trust spokesman said despite its need to save £14.2m within the year, it had avoided the need for compulsory redundancies.

It is stated in the report a total of 9,650 posts have been identified as needing to be lost across the 21 trusts, of which 4,429 would be nursing roles. It also claims up to 40,000 front-line NHS jobs may go over the next three years.

The RCN warned these cuts could have “catastrophic consequences on patient safety and care” and described the coalition government’s assurances that front-line patient services would be protected as a “myth”.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Clinical staff are the lifeblood of the NHS and it is haemorrhaging at an alarming rate.

“Many trusts are not being transparent by admitting the proportion of clinical jobs being lost. From our research we now know the truth – the majority of job losses are front-line clinical jobs, the jobs that matter to patients.”

But a spokesman for the trust played down the claims made by the RCN, and said: “No, the situation hasn’t changed. While some qualified and unqualified nursing posts are at risk, this does not mean that nursing staff will be made redundant as there are a large number of new nursing posts coming on stream with expansion of new services such as our new secure and forensic facilities.

“So far, only three (unqualified) nursing assistants are being made redundant at the trust and no qualified nurses to date.

“For the nursing assistants, opportunities at other locations were available and all the others in ‘at risk’ posts have been found alternative posts.”