[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 9 May, 2004, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Nurses question NHS funding boost
Image of nurses
Investment has not translated into benefits for all nurses
Nurses say extra money injected into the NHS has failed to boost frontline staff, a survey has found.

Three quarters of those interviewed thought that increasing the numbers of permanent nurses was essential.

But the majority of cancer care nurses questioned said they had seen significant investment in their sector.

The poll of more than 1,000 UK nurses was published as members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) gathered for their annual meeting in Harrogate.

The poll is thought to be the largest ever on the effects of investment in the NHS.

Nurses are now calling on the government to consult members of the RCN more widely about how money should be targeted.

Overall, less than a third of those nurses surveyed felt investment in permanent nursing staff had increased, but more than half recognised more cash had been put into the NHS.

The lessons we have learned from improving cancer care must be shared so that patients everywhere benefit
Sylvia Denton

The MORI poll commissioned by the RCN also showed many nurses felt uninvolved in funding decisions.

This included two-thirds of the NHS' most senior nurses.

Nurses were divided on whether extra cash in the NHS had led to improved treatments and reduced waiting times as well as more staffing.

The survey assessed the achievements of the NHS plan launched four years ago.

Cancer care

Most of the 100 nurses working in the priority care of cancer care who were questioned overwhelmingly believed that their patients were benefiting from improved care as a direct result of investment.

RCN president Sylvia Denton said it was important to ensure care was improved across the board.

"It's clear that making cancer care a government priority has delivered for patients - but I believe passionately that the lessons we have learned from improving cancer care must be shared so that patients everywhere benefit," she said.

Cancer nurses reported significant progress
Mental health nurses reported little or no progress
Critical care nurses reported little or no progress
Older people's nurses reported little or no progress
Non-specialist nurses were divided in opinion

She believes nurses should be involved in investment decisions.

"Nurses have always been closest to patients and to leave them out of decisions about investment ultimately short-changes patients," she said.

The British Medical Association said it shared some of the nurses' concerns.

"Record government investment has undoubtedly led to improved services but it is essential that this continues. After years of under-investment the health service still has a long way to go," a spokesman said.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said they continued to recruit record numbers of nurses - 67,500 since 1997.

"A campaign to recruit to the wide variety of careers within the NHS, including nurses, is ongoing.

"We acknowledge that the NHS still spends more on agency nurses than we would like to".

But she said agency nurses were still doing the job of treating and caring for patients.

The BBC's Clarence Mitchell
"The debate continues over whether NHS investment is reaching those who need it most"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific