NHS nurses are beset by fears of redundancy and having their jobs downgraded, according to a survey of experienced nurses by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The RCN surveyed almost 300 specialist nurses and found that a third had witnessed a vacancy freeze in their place of work while 20% felt at risk of being made redundant.
The poll also found that 45% have worked outside their specialist area to cover staff shortages.
The results have been sharply criticised by RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter.
He said: "It beggars belief that despite the NHS being on track to register a £1.8bn surplus, specialist nurses are continuing to be targeted in a bid to cut costs.
"Specialist nurses are our gold plated resources who make a huge difference to the lives of their patients. The loss of just one of these highly trained experts will have a disproportionate impact on patients."
The knock-on effect on the rest of the NHS of patients not being able to see specialist nurses was highlighted by Diabetes UK.
Its Chief Executive Douglas Smallwood, said: "Research has already shown a decline in diabetes specialist nurses has led to a rise in emergency hospital admissions for short-term diabetes-related complications such as hypos. The potential long-term impact of cuts from diabetes complications and the burden on NHS resources is alarming."
"Absolutely, we did not get our team leaders post raised, just frozen and to then disappear, plus a new male colleague has been appointed on a band higher doing the same job with same jd. We are constantly made to feel we are not an efficient resource and have to constantly justify ourselves and try to find funding. We also have to fill in activity sheeets to show what we are doing in the day down to the no of people you speak to, this is now going to an electronic version funded by the Welsh Assembly to apparently improve communication but it essentially doubles our admin." - Name and address supplied