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Protect Vital Frontline Specialist Nursing Services, says HCL plc

Protect Vital Frontline Specialist Nursing Services, says HCL plc
Leading healthcare staffing company advises building a more flexible workforce to achieve cost efficiency
The NHS must maintain frontline nursing services as nurses are key to helping people manage their conditions and thus saving the NHS money, said leading health and social care staffing company HCL plc. The Company also advised that the NHS could maintain its frontline clinical services by adopting a flexible workforce model and using temporary staff during periods of higher demand.
HCL plc was responding to findings by the Royal College of Nursing which suggest that as many as 10,000 frontline clinical posts have been lost or are due to be cut as NHS Trusts seek to find cost savings. The report also warned that specialist nurses may be cut or asked to do general nursing tasks when they are key to keeping people well and out of hospital.
HCL plc, which recruits healthcare staff to the NHS, noted that the UK has a growing and aging population which will need more frequent and acute care in coming years. This meant it was vital that frontline staff are maintained, especially specialist nurses in key shortage areas such as Midwifery, SCBU, Theatres, ITU and Paediatrics. The Company warned against diverting specialist nurses into more general roles instead of doing the roles they are trained to do.
The Company also advised that cost efficiency can be achieved by creating and maintaining a flexible workforce, using temporary staff to flex the workforce up and down to meet periods of fluctuating demand.
Kate Bleasdale, Executive Vice Chairman of HCL plc and a former nurse, said:
We support the RCN in its calls for frontline nursing services to be maintained. Nurses help patients manage their conditions and stay out of hospital, so they are actually vital in helping the NHS achieve cost efficiency. There are serious shortages of nurses in key areas such as Intensive Care and Special Care Baby Units. Our concern is that these areas of shortage will get worse especially after degree requirements become compulsory post 2013 as nurses take longer to train. Specialist nurses should be doing what they are trained to do, not taking on general roles.
It is of paramount importance that the government encourages more school leavers to enter the nursing profession. In the meantime, HR directors should support their permanent workforce with temps so that patient need can be met when demand is high. In challenging times we must ensure that our nursing workforce is fully supported so that they can continue to do what really matters deliver world class patient care.


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