By: 18 June 2012

Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, was heckled by nurses at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in Harrogate.

His claims that the number of NHS clinical staff had increased since the Coalition Goverment took power in 2010, were met with laughter and jeers from the audience of delegates and nurses, both student and professional.

Lansley said: “Across the whole of the NHS we have seen staffing levels reduce. But clinical staffing levels overall have gone up by nearly 4,000. The number of qualified nurses has gone down by nearly 3,000 in two years in England but those are decisions made by trust boards.”

General Secretary and Chief Executive of the RCN, Dr Peter Carter, said: “All this nonsense that there’s more clinical staff than there was two years ago is just incorrect.” The RCN has collected evidence showing that the number of nurses has fallen by over 3,500 in the last two years and that over 60,000 NHS jobs across the UK have been cut or earmarked to be lost, overall.

In the last two years, Lansley has received a 98% vote of ‘no confidence’ from delegates, following the passing of the controversial Health and Social Care Bill in 2010.