About a third of community psychiatric nurses in Northamptonshire have been placed at risk of redundancy, patients have claimed.
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides NHS mental health services across the county has confirmed that it has begun several separate staff consultations over job losses, including some of its community psychiatric nurses.
Christine Fitchett, who has bipolar disorder and who also works elsewhere as a general nurse, said: “Several patients have been told by members of staff that about a third of CPN’s will be let go.
“It’s hugely distressing for mental health patients because they rely on community nurses for support and quick prescriptions of medication.
“Community nurses generally come to us about once a week, but that clearly cannot continue if there’s going to so few of them in future.
“There’s talk of mental health patients being referred to GPs instead. Most people struggle to get timely appointments as it is, so I’m pretty sceptical that that would work.
“Mental health patients need certainty and this will be very upsetting.”
The NHS would not confirm how many jobs were at risk, how many community psychiatric nurses it employed or which other roles had been issued with redundancy notices.
An NHFT statement issued this afternoon says: “Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is presently in consultation with staff on the redesign of community mental health teams (CMHTs).
“This includes a skill mix review and a number of staff have been placed “at risk” during this internal consultation.
The consultation process will not affect services provided by the CMHTs and they will continue to be provided across the county in a way which supports GPs in Primary Care and our patients.
“The proposals within the consultation paper have been developed in conjunction with GP colleagues in Northamptonshire and with the staff employed in the CMHTs.”