Published: 10 February 2012
by TOM FOOT
THE Royal College of Nursing has attacked Islington’s mental health bosses over plans to axe or downgrade dozens of staff posts – including 65 nurses.
The “Case for Staffing Change” – obtained by the Tribune this week – has been kept under close-guard by the Camden and Islington Foundation Trust.
Staff have been told they could be sacked if they leaked it and even trust governors have been barred from seeing the documents.
The trust claims the planned changes outlined – a 189-page list of job changes – is not a matter of public interest.
But Royal College of Nursing regional director for London Bernell Bussue said the impact on Camden patients would be “direct”, adding: “Staff, including frontline nursing posts, are being cut, either by direct job losses or by freezing vacancies.
The impact on patients is direct it will mean fewer nurses at the bedside and poorer services.
It is a myth that you can just keep making efficiency savings and service will not be affected.”
The documents reveal how 65 qualified nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers will be axed, and untrained support staff will take on their duties.
The detailed report adds: “It is proposed that assistant practitioners and support workers should deliver a range of the required interventions.”
There is particular concern about the downgrading of senior staff at Isledon Road Resource Centre in Highbury.
The changes affect all mental health services Islington, including referral centres for people with clinical depression, dementia personality disorders.
Islington’s community mental health teams – who visit people living with mental health problems in the home – are also being cut back.
The report says: “We plan to operate with less [sic] individual teams than we currently have.”
C&I says it has to save £12.7million this financial year and has been hit by £4million drop in funding from Camden and Islington primary care trusts.
C&I chief executive Wendy Wallace said: “Our proposals involve a reorganisation of community-based staff, with whom we have consulted.
Throughout the staff consultation process we have been talking to service users, their representative and a wide range of stakeholders.
We will continue to talk to people as we gradually implement the reorganisation over the next 18 months, and we expect that the experience of most service users will be one of the consistent, high-quality services.”