Nurse cuts proposal could affect 770 Northamptonshire patients

GV of Berrywood Hospital.
GV of Berrywood Hospital.
Have your say

More than 770 Northamptonshire patients regularly visited by community nurses could be affected by a proposal to make NHS staff redundant.

As revealed by the Chronicle & Echo last week, hundreds of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) staff have been told they are at risk of redundancy, with 60 eventually losing their job.

The at-risk total includes 43 of the 128 current community psychiatric nurse roles.

And it can now be revealed that the average caseload for each nurse is 28 patients, meaning a total of up to 774 patients who could have their care switched to a different nurse – or more likely another type of NHS worker – for regular medication and support visits.

Each nurse does 18 visits a week on average.

Former MP Sally Keeble, who has been campaigning against NHS mental health cuts in Northamptonshire, said: “Eighteen visits, plus travelling and paperwork equals a huge number of hours needing to be picked up for each nurse who loses their job.

“NHFT needs to be careful because mental health in the community can be a high- risk area. The effects of these cuts could see more people detained in future.”

Northamptonshire Healthcare – funded by NHS Nene, which is in about £30m debt – said the 60 job losses across several ongoing consultations were aimed at “modernising” services for those with “mild to moderate” mental health problems.

A spokeswoman said: “The changes will support our primary care services to provide a broader range of mental health services closer to where people live, with shorter waiting times.”