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Specialist nurses still under threat despite NHS surplus

Fears of redundancy and downgrading are continuing to plague the NHS as it heads for a £1.8 billion surplus, according to a survey of specialist and experienced nurses by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The survey of nearly 330 UK specialist and experienced nurses found a third said their organisation had a vacancy freeze in place and one in four have been at risk of redundancy in their current role, with 20 per cent still at risk.

The survey also showed that almost half (45 per cent) have worked outside their specialist area to cover staff shortages.

Diabetes specialist nurses are integral

“It is absolutely ridiculous that the jobs of specialist nurses could be at risk at a time when the NHS is on track for a £1.8bn surplus", said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

“People with diabetes need specialist care. Diabetes specialist nurses are an integral part of the local diabetes service and play a fundamental role in providing education and support for general practice diabetes care teams. It would be appalling if people with diabetes lost access to their advice, support and skills.

Action should be taken now

“With more than two million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and prevalence increasing at a startling rate, action has to be taken now.

“Research has already shown a decline in diabetes specialist nurses has led to a rise in emergency hospital admissions for short-term diabetes-related complications such as hypos. The potential long-term impact of cuts from diabetes complications and the burden on NHS resources is alarming.

“Decision-makers must look to invest in specialist care to deliver patient-centred care rather than to cut costs and jeopardise people’s health.”

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