The RCN is seeking to shine a light on the impact of the UK’s nursing staff shortage.
Today, nurses attending the Royal College of Nursing‘s (RCN) annual Congress are sending a clear message to the Government – “we have had enough”.
It comes after eight in 10 (83%) nurses told the union that the staffing levels on their last shift were not sufficient to meet the needs of patients, and the majority (59%) felt upset or sad that they could not provide the level of care they wanted.
The findings also show that only a quarter (25%) of shifts had the planned number of registered nurses, a sharp fall from 42% in 2020 and 45% five years ago, in 2017.
The College will today hear how its members’ experiences demonstrate the risk posed to patient care and call on members to be vigilant in sounding the alarm in their care settings.
In her keynote address, the College’s General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen is warning of the crisis currently facing the profession.
It is not normal to be short-staffed.
Ms Cullen will say, “Don’t ever think that it is normal to not have enough staff to meet the needs of patients. It is not. Today, members are letting the full truth be known – nursing is saying loud and clear that enough is enough.
“If there was ever a time to break this cycle – it is now.
“It is your professional duty to be concerned about unsafe staffing and we have your back. Twenty-five thousand registered nurses left last year – a sharp rise on the year before, at the very moment we cannot afford to lose a single individual. The pressure is too great and the reward too little.
Ms Cullen adds, “Nursing staff are being driven out by the current way of working – the shortage of staff and too often the poor culture.
“To those from Government listening to my words – we have had enough. The patients and those we care for have had enough.
“We are tired, fed up, demoralised, and some of us are leaving the profession because we have lost hope. Do something about it – we are not going away.”