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13.06.16

Write to MPs protesting against nursing advisory unit closure plans, health leaders urge

People must write to their MPs urging the Department of Health to U-turn on its decision to scrap the nursing advisory unit, NHS bodies have said as they called the move “extremely worrying”.

The department’s plans to axe the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions policy unit allegedly comes as an attempt to cut running costs by 30% over the next five years.

The co-chair of New NHS Alliance, Heather Henry, said the proposal comes at a time when the health service is experiencing “concerning issues around workforce planning, integration and new models of care”, and just three years after the Francis Inquiry report made a series of recommendations to strengthen nursing.

“The New NHS Alliance condemns the closure of the nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals policy unit,” Henry said, adding that the need for senior nursing, midwifery, and allied professionals “has never been more acute”.

“At last we have the GP Forward View and our new nursing strategy, Leading Change, Adding Value,” she continued. “Policy advice at the highest level will be needed to ensure that both are a success. Modernisation of care outside hospitals requires courageous and imaginative thinking at all levels. We urge people to write to their MPs to ask that this decision be reversed.”

The Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive and general secretary, Janet Davies, did not take kindly to the department’s plans, noting that there is a “cross the board consensus that nurse leadership, at the highest levels, is the key to driving the development of best practice and the best possible health policy”.

“Government must not be exempt from that,” Davies said. “It’s absolutely vital that talented, experienced and knowledgeable nursing professionals are involved in creating health policy, right at the heart of government.  

“The government is already failing to listen to stakeholders and mishandling its plans for student funding. Without senior nurse leadership at the heart of government formulating and interrogating plans, this looks set to continue, to the detriment of all.”

She added that the role of nurses in central government “goes beyond the NHS”, making it therefore essential that “there is leadership across all healthcare sectors”.

“Unless nursing advice and leadership is put back at the heart of government and given the prominence and respect that it deserves, then the profession will be in the permanent position of trying to shape and alter policy from the outside which is not only bad for nursing, but also for patients,” Davies concluded.

While the department has already come under fire multiple times for the way it handles nursing – including contentious plans to scrap student bursaries and insufficient staffing levels – it has recently been promoting a new ‘nursing associate’ role, defended by Health Education England as a positive step in the way of integration and community-based care.

 

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Comments

Deborah Glover MBE   30/09/2016 at 09:16

I started a petition to stop the closure. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/132672 While 10,00 signatures were received, that represents only 10% of number required. And there is approx half a million nurses on NMC regsiter. So perhaps we have to ask whether nurses, midwives and AHPs are 'bovvered' - it seems they are not.

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