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Axing government nurse advisers will be 'disastrous'

Source says government will seek advice from the very organisations it should be monitoring 

Scrapping the Department of Health’s team of nurse advisers will be a ‘disastrous’ blow to patients and the profession, a source close to the government told Nursing Standard.

The DH has so far refused to answer widespread concerns over reports that it plans to axe the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions policy unit in September as part of wider job losses.

But a source close to government confirmed the reports and said the department will seek advice from external organisations in future instead of an in-house team.

At risk advisers

They added some at-risk advisers can apply for jobs within the DH policy department, while others have been approached by outside organisations and offered new roles.

‘From a professional perspective, this is disastrous – not having nursing input into policy is impossible,' said the source. 'Where is the DH going to get advice from?

‘Part of its role is to monitor various external bodies. It will have to go to the organisations it is supposed to be monitoring for advice.’

Axe the unit

The proposal to axe the unit will see the loss of seven staff including the unit’s head David Foster.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN), which represents millions of nurses worldwide, has become the latest organisation to condemn the move, calling it ‘deplorable’.

A DH spokesperson insisted the nursing voice was heard ‘loud and clear’ in policymaking.

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