Ministers must urgently address nursing workforce

The Royal College of Nursing is demanding that ministers urgently address the nursing workforce crisis as members look set to work in increasingly challenging conditions over the next few months.

Amid soaring coronavirus cases, an ever-growing backlog of people requiring care and seasonal pressures, the healthcare profession faces the prospect of another difficult winter. With tens of thousands of nursing vacancies in the NHS alone, and no government-led workforce plan in place to recruit and retain staff, the RCN says that patient safety may be affected and care left undone.

The RCN insists changes must be made to the Health and Care Bill, currently passing through parliament, to make the Health Secretary accountable for having enough nursing staff to deliver safe care.

Carol Popplestone, RCN Chair of Council, said: “This World Patient Safety Day should be a wake-up call for ministers – nursing staff deserve to be able to go to work with enough staff on shift to care properly and safely for their patients.

“That is what patients and their families deserve too. We will continue to campaign for safe nurse staffing and fair pay on behalf of our members until the UK government recognise the clinical expertise and knowledge of nursing staff and make the right political choice by properly investing in the profession."

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