Nurses call on the Health Secretary to deliver safe staffing legislation

Three supersized letters calling for safe staffing legislation were delivered to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Matt Bodell
27 June 2019
RCN Letter

The letters are part of the unions’ campaign for staffing for safe and effective care.

Thousands of RCN members signed the three supersized letters, delivered to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today, at the College’s annual Congress in May.


The letter, signed by around 3,000 Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members, urges the Health Secretary to ensure that patient safety in England is as well safeguarded as it is in Scotland and Wales. You can read the letter in full here.

While the Health Secretary wasn’t available to receive the urgent message from England’s nurses in person, the letters were accepted by DHSC staff on his behalf, and the RCN expects a reply in due course.

The letters are part of the RCN’s campaign for staffing for safe and effective care. Nursing staff will take part in a more public-facing campaign over the course of the summer.

We need to talk.

Patricia Marquis, RCN England Director, said: “When we asked thousands of delegates at Congress to make their feelings towards the Health Secretary clear, it wasn’t just for show.


“The message is clear – we’re at a tipping point –  and it’s endorsed by members across the nation. These are nursing staff who are starting to grow impatient with the Health Secretary because their peers in Scotland and Wales are working in conditions that are arguably safer than in England.

“The minister risks exacerbating the almost 40,000 vacancies in England if hard-working nurses look across the border and see a system under which they know they can do better by their patients.

“The only way to deliver the urgent and immediate action we need, that will ensure we have the right nurses, with the right skills, working in the right places, is through legislation and we’re more than willing to work with the Health Secretary to tailor this law so it will safeguard patient safety for generations to come.”

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