Blackpool nursing jobs at risk

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN
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More than 60,000 frontline jobs in the NHS – including nursing staff in Blackpool – are at risk of being axed or have already been cut, it was today claimed.

The Royal College of Nursing said community nurses were among those facing cuts, which meant Government plans to move care from acute hospitals to community sites were a “facade”.

And their report said 675 of the jobs were based in Blackpool.

The RCN said 61,000 posts nationally were at risk of being slashed, including nursing and other jobs, with 26,000 already lost in the two years to April.

The loss of so many jobs showed the “weakness” of Government pledges to protect the front line, said the RCN ahead of its annual conference in Harrogate this week.

Community services, covering district and mental health nurses and those who visit patients in their own homes, were being “overburdened”, said the RCN.

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Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are being stretched too thin, and many are approaching breaking point. Inevitably, patient care is going to suffer.

“We are now seeing a clear and worrying picture of a health service which is struggling.”

Health Minister Simon Burns said: “We do not recognise these figures. 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.”

A spokeswoman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals said the trust has not made any cuts to frontline staff and is not planning to in the next year.

She said: “Providing safe and quality care to our patients is our key priority and we have actually recruited an additional 100 nurses over the past six months and are still actively recruiting more nurses this year.”

The spokeswoman said the trust lost an “overall workforce” of 300 posts in the financial year of 2011/12 but none were nursing jobs.