This site is intended for health professionals only

Specialists "would save millions"

A union says the NHS could make huge savings by bringing in specialist nurses for people with Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that £56m could be saved every year if nurses were brought in to care for people with Parkinson's, while £180m could be saved annually by treating MS issues in people's homes.

It said that advice on medication and general support offered by specialist nurses help people spend less time in hospital.

The RCN made the claims after a survey of nearly 300 specialist nurses revealed that only 36% think all patients who need specialist care are getting it.

Almost half of those surveyed (49%) said there were problems accessing specialist care, with 69% of that figure saying that overloading meant specialist nurses could not take on new patients.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: "Nurses realise that whoever wins the next election will be looking to make savings and to deliver more for less.

"While the temptation may be to cut or downgrade specialist nursing roles, this would be a false economy, which would only add to the growing cost of treating long-term conditions."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Royal College of Nursing