Nursing union speaks out over health cuts

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A NURSING union says that a health trust’s plans to cut costs could affect patients with mental health problems.

The Royal College of Nursing has spoke out against Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust’s plans to share a team supervisor betweeen Stamford Hospital and Johnson Community Hospital, Spalding.

The trust has announced plans for pairs of hospitals to share a team leader, who would have a patient caseload and supervisory duties.

These changes would see the number of supervisor roles falling from nine to six.

The union’s branch secretary David Harding-Price claims the changes will reduce access to clinical expertise for nurses and social workers working with patients with mental health problems. He said it could compromise care because junior staff will not have a local clinical team leader based in their team.

He said that many staff in the community teams are already carrying caseloads of more than 30 seriously and chronically ill people. He said: “I thought we had an agreement with senior management that they would not alter the current system which ensures that local clinical nurses, social workers and occupational therapists have a knowledgeable senior clinician working in their team whom they can access on a face to face basis at a moment’s notice or in a crisis.”

The trust’s director of human resources Mike Proud said the director of nursing is satisfied that the new structure is appropriate and made assurances that the changes will be kept under review.