The Royal College of Nursing has said the news that the Department of Health has returned nearly £3 billion of its funding to the Treasury over the past two years is a “bitter pill to swallow”
Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “It is almost unbelievable that at a time when more than 61,000 posts are being stripped out of the NHS, billions of pounds of unspent money is going to the Treasury. On a daily basis, nurses are telling us that they do not have enough staff to deliver good quality care.”
Dr Carter added: “Demand for services is continuing to rise. However, staffing levels are being slashed. Nurses are working hard to find the £20 billion in savings on the basis that it will be reinvested back into frontline care. Sadly, there is no evidence this is happening. This is money that should be reinvested back into vital services, for example in community provision, that would ultimately improve patient care.
“Equally, nurses, who have faced an effective pay cut of nine per cent in the past two years, will find this news a bitter pill to swallow. The pay freeze has had a huge effect on their finances and this underspend could be spent in a more effective manner than being hoarded at the Treasury.”