The NHS is consulting on changes to the law that will affect health and social care in England.
The Royal College of Nursing is calling on both staff and the public to write to NHS England and NHS Improvement calling for changes in the law to make the Health Secretary and national bodies accountable for ensuring there are enough nurses to provide safe and effective care.
NHS England and NHS Improvement is currently consulting on changes to the Health and Social Care Act and are encouraging members of the public and interested organisations to have their views heard.
The RCN is calling on anyone who has been helped by the health service or works in the NHS to use their online tool to send a letter to the health authorities asking that their proposals to reform the Health and Social Care Act include ‘clearly defined powers’ for the Government and arm’s length bodies.
NHS England has set out plans that it says will make it easier to bring in the big ideas they’ve laid out for the health service but the RCN believes the current plans won’t address accountability for nearly 40,000 vacant nursing posts in England alone.
‘Safe staffing saves lives’.
RCN England Director Patricia Marquis says this is an opportunity “nurses should seize”.
She said; “Their voice has a real chance of being heard and the more members who take part, the louder that voice will be – and harder for Government and NHS England to ignore.
“The plans don’t address the most pressing issue for the sustainability of our health and social care system; having the right staff in the right place at the right time.
“Safe staffing saves lives but, at the moment, there’s no legal provision that lays out who is responsible for sufficient numbers of registered nurses and nursing staff with the right skills to keep patients safe.
“When there aren’t enough nurses to meet the needs of the population, there’s no one to hold to account. We can’t give policy-makers a pass in future, getting by on piecemeal solutions driven by funding needs.”
This is the first action members are being urged to take as part of the RCN’s campaign to ensure staff staffing laws are enshrined in law across all four countries.