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Community trusts lose more staff than any other type of trust

Community trusts lose almost one in five staff members over the course of a year, according to a new report.

These trusts rank last among all NHS trusts when it comes to staff stability in England, with a median stability rate of just 79% in 2017/18, found an analysis by the Health Foundation.

The staff stability measure looks at the percentage of staff in a given trust at the start of a year who are in their post at the end of the year.

The rank for community trusts compared to a median staff stability rate of 85% in 2017/18 across all trusts, at a time when the gap between ‘best’ and ‘worst’ NHS trusts is growing.

The report claims that some of the variation between types of trust will be due to the type of staff employed.

Meanwhile, the analysis also noted numbers of nurses and health visitors working in community care has continued to deteriorate, falling by 1.2% in July 2018 compared to the year before.

Mental health, an area singled out for improvement by the NHS Long Term Plan, saw nursing numbers increase by less than 0.5%. Over the same period, numbers of specialist nurses working with learning disabilities fell by 3.7%.

The findings come at a critical moment for the long-term ambition to shift care out of hospitals and into the community, as outlined in the Long Term Plan.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Providing more care outside of hospitals is central to the NHS Long Term Plan but the health service faces an uphill struggle.

‘If it can’t recruit and retain more healthcare professionals in primary, mental health and community care, this will continue to be an unrealised aspiration’.