The report warns of the “extreme pressure” NHS services are facing.
A first of its kind report has revealed that NHS services and staff are currently under “enormous stress”, rubbishing previous claims by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) report identifies ten “unsustainable pressures” that the UK’s health and social care are currently facing as winter rapidly approaches.
The report warns of the “extreme pressure” hospitals are facing, with high bed-occupancy rates and record A&E attendance rates combined with a falling number of staff due to unfilled nursing vacancies and an ever-increasing level of sickness absence due to stress and burnout.
It also raises concerns over rising COVID-19 infection rates, NHS waiting times, and the use of international recruitment over domestic training.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid proclaimed last month that the current pressures on NHS services were not unsustainable.
Mr. Javid said; “we don’t believe the pressures on the NHS are unsustainable”. He also suggested that it was time to learn to live with the virus and be thankful for the low number of 1,000 deaths per day.
Concerned for patients.
The RCN is also calling for the health secretary to be held legally accountable for workforce planning and supply, and for this to be enshrined in the Health and Care Bill currently passing through parliament.
The RCN is currently polling their members on if they want to take industrial action over a recent 3% NHS pay rise – a real-terms pay cut.
RCN Director for England, Patricia Marquis, said: “Speak to any nurse and they will tell you just how concerned they are for their patients as well as their colleagues.
“They have known for a long time just how the pressures have been growing and they can see the risk to patient care every single day in every part of health and care.
“This was coming long before the pandemic and is a direct consequence of a long-term failure to invest in the nursing workforce.
“The government must wake up to the reality and provide the investment that is needed to ensure patient care is not damaged any further.”