Nurse cuts proposal could affect 770 Northamptonshire patients

GV of Berrywood Hospital.
GV of Berrywood Hospital.

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.”