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Concern over community nurse shortage

September 6, 2007 9:00 AM

Cambridge MP David Howarth and Lib Dem Health Spokesperson for Cambridgeshire, Councillor Geoff Heathcock, have met with local nurses to discuss changes to local health services.

The proposals to close wards for the elderly at Brookfields Hospital involve moving patients out to receive their care at home. The nurses were very concerned about whether there will be sufficient trained community nurses available if Brookfields closed.

Mr Howarth commented:

"Financial pressures are forcing many health trusts to cut back on staff training with some nurses having to train in their own time with their own money.

"The closure of Brookfields Hospital would mean that many more community nurses would be needed. Will the PCT provide the training necessary for nurses to take on this community work?"

Councillor Heathcock added:

"Brookfields Hospital is threatened with closure but there are also threats hanging over community hospitals all over Cambridgeshire. Staff and patients at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely are in limbo as they wait for an announcement from the PCT.

"How will the PCT make sure that there are enough trained staff to provide these services out in the community?"

Gordon Brown's decision to phase nurses' pay award was also discussed. This decision meant that the overall pay award was reduced to less than 2% this year.

Councillor Heathcock commented:

"Gordon Brown's staging of nurses' pay award was incredibly unfair and means that local nurses are losing out. This is effectively a pay cut for hardworking NHS staff."

David Howarth MP with Cllr Geoff Heathcock outside Addenbrooke's Hospital

Cllr Heathcock and David Howarth MP outside Addenbrooke's Hospital

This was the first of a series of meetings over the coming months with nursing representatives.