A report published today by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) highlights that there are 4,000 less senior nursing posts than there were in 2010.
In 2011 Bliss highlighted in our SOS report, that a worrying number of neonatal nurse posts were being cut, frozen and downgraded.
The RCN is now warning that the health service has been treating staff with years of experience as ‘disposable’ and a quick way to save money, which means specialist clinical knowledge and leadership is being lost just as it is needed more than ever. Another tactic used to save money has been ‘downbanding’, or forcing senior staff into lower pay grades. This short-term measure permanently devalues that role, sending a message that experience and leadership is not valued in the NHS and lowering morale among all staff.
While we have seen a welcome increase in the numbers of midwives and some specialist areas of nursing, it is still a very real concern that the number of neonatal nurses has not increased. This issue needs to be addressed to ensure that all premature and sick babies receive the very best care.