Welcome to my Blog. I hope you find the posts interesting, informative and perhaps even entertaining(!). I'll update this Blog with my responses to topical stories of the day, important news and tales of my travels up and down the UK, meeting our inspirational nursing staff.

The RCN represents almost 400,000 nurses in the UK and is the country's largest nursing union.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The value of specialist nurses

At the RCN we understand the value of specialist nurses. We’re clear about their economic benefits and the overwhelmingly positive impact they have on patient care. So we’re delighted to be launching a report that sets out the reasons why investing in specialist nurses is crucial not just to patients but to reducing costs to the NHS.

Time and again studies highlight the benefits of specialist nurses, including reducing unnecessary re-admissions, the length of hospital stays and the number of post-operative complications that patients suffer.

Specialist nurses were one of the groups hardest hit by the deficits crisis in the NHS in 2005/06. As we head towards another period of constrained funding, we must ensure these healthcare experts are not targeted in the inevitable drive for efficiencies. If you haven’t already, you can show your support for specialist nursing by signing up to the ‘Nursing counts’ campaign today. We’re calling for every patient with a chronic or long-term condition to have the right to specialist nursing care.

Despite the impact that these nurses have on the patient experience, there are worrying signs that history could repeat itself.

The RCN surveyed the UK’s leading health charities and almost 60% said that they were worried that specialist nursing posts would be subject to cutbacks in the ‘near future’. Perhaps more worryingly, over a third (37%) told us that they have already seen evidence of reductions in the funding of specialist nurse posts in the last twelve months.

At this defining moment, we have a real choice in front of us – do we sit back and allow these critically important healthcare professionals to suffer familiar cutbacks and redundancies, or do we take a stand and speak up for what we know is right? We need your continued support, if you’ve already signed up to the campaign you can send it to your friends and family.

So far, over 2,000 people have already sent emails to another 8,000 – ensuring our voice grows louder by the day. You can view our latest film, in which we hear from specialist nurses and the people who they help. People like Lillian, whose husband Tim has suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 30 years, says how she doesn’t know how she’d be able to cope without Carolyn, the specialist nurse.

These stories are not unique, they’re replicated all over the UK and millions of people know how important specialist nursing care can be. You can watch the film from the front page of this website.

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