Patients face 'revolving door' from cuts
Published on 15 May 2012 01:00 PM
A union representing nurses has warned that slashing the budget to community nursing will lead to more older patients being ushered between their homes and hospital.
Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said people of the older generation face a 'revolving door' if the cuts are implemented.
The organisation has criticised the Government's measures to offer more support and care for patients outside of hospital, labelling its efforts as a 'façade' because of the budget reductions.
An RCN poll revealed that the number of district and school nurses, healthcare workers and other assistants - who all come under the umbrella term 'community nurses' - has tumbled by 3.5% since three years ago. Due to the decline the profession lost an estimated 1,700 roles throughout the country.
The figures come while demand rises as a result of the ageing population, said Dr Carter. He added that 'short sighted cuts' made by the NHS trusts will have an 'inevitable' knock-on effect to patient care.
Speaking at the RCN's annual congress in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Dr Carter said the health system was 'struggling to keep people out of hospital because of pressures on the community, and it is struggling to discharge them with support when they leave'.
'Very soon, patients will be left with nowhere to turn. This is a revolving door for patients, but it also represents a false economy at a time when there is no money to spare,' he cautioned.
Copyright Press Association 2012