Signed by Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's chief executive and general secretary, as well as bodies including Macmillan Cancer Support, the Terrence Higgins Trust and Leonard Cheshire Disability, the letter in the Daily Telegraph says: ‘After the general election, it is inevitable that the public sector will be forced to find efficiencies to a level and depth not seen for some time.
‘However to cut specialist nursing care would not only be disastrous for patient care, but counter-productive in the quest to trim budgets and reduce spending. Not only do specialist nurses provide exceptional long-term care; they act as a long-term investment.
‘As an increasing number of people are diagnosed with long-term conditions, these experts will become even more invaluable to the health of the nation. Not only do these nurses change lives, they save money. Patients cared for by specialist nurses have lower readmission rates, fewer complications and shorter post-operative hospital stay times.'
Editor's blog: Do we need more specialist nurses or more district nurses?