Occupational health professionals have warned that the loss of thousands of jobs cut by cash-strapped NHS trusts is likely to have a significant impact on how the profession functions in the future.
Trusts across the NHS are cutting jobs amid warnings of a financial crisis engulfing the service.
Nursing and Midwifery Council member and Plymouth OH nurse consultant David Maslen-Jones told Occupational Health that the redundancies had “massive implications” for the profession.
This was “not simply because of the increased stress and pressure which nurses in the NHS who are already overstretched are subject to, but because OH departments themselves are already working flat out to support stressed members of staff and to assist in the implementation of Health and Safety Executive guidance on stress management,” he warned.
At Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, where Maslen-Jones works, the OH team had just recruited a mental health nurse with an OH background to support staff, he added.
Another London OH nurse, who had recently left her job, contacted Occupational Health to outline the effect an 18-month recruitment freeze and cut-backs had had on morale, workload and stress levels.
“The nurses I left behind are unable to provide more than a very basic service. They also do not have the confidence and skills to challenge directors who say ‘jump’ and expect them to jump,” she explained.
“This has had an effect on one nurse’s health, not to mention stress levels. They seem to jump from one crisis to another, with very little support from colleagues within the trust,” she added.
Have you been affected by the NHS cuts? Get in touch, in confidence. E-mail OH.Editor@rbi.co.uk