Nurses failed by years of Tory cutbacks | Letter

Successive governments have left staff numbers depleted and NHS services reduced, writes Karen Jacob

The failure of Nightingale hospitals came as no surprise, though the rapid conversions and equipping remain interesting. Where were thousands of new hospital beds stored, for example? They seemed to have appeared out of nowhere (The empty Nightingale hospitals show the cost of putting buildings before people, 27 January).

I was a senior manager in nursing education in the 1990s, when training moved from what has been dubbed “apprenticeship-style training” to a university-based education. The battle to achieve this had been long and bitter, with the Conservatives being wholly against this transition as student nurses had been such a cheap way of staffing hospitals. The change was agreed, and the then Conservative government cut training numbers overnight by up to a third.

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