Nurses write to Tory leadership candidates demanding answers on key nursing issues

The letter calls on the leadership hopefuls to clarify their positions on safe staffing, pay and tuition fees.

Matt Bodell
19 June 2019
Downing Street SW1

The letter calls on the leadership hopefuls to clarify their positions on key nursing issues.

A group of Royal College of Nursing activists have written an open letter to Borris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid.

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The letter calls on the leadership hopefuls to clarify their positions on several key nursing issues; safe staffing, pay, tuition fees and the prolonged “impasse” currently experienced by nurses in Northern Ireland.

It was penned by thirteen prominent nursing activists including two current members of the RCNs’ governing Council and a past Deputy President.

A new Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister is due to be announced in the week commencing 22 July.

It reads;  “On behalf of nursing staff across the UK we should be grateful if each of you would provide your answers to the following questions. Please note that your answers, and indeed your lack of answers will be shared with the 435,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing, our families, friends and professional partners.

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1. Scotland and Wales have introduced legislation to ensure that there will be safe nursing staff levels in hospital wards and community settings for both physical and mental health care. If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to ensure that safe staffing legislation is enacted across the entire UK?

2. There are over 40,000 vacancies for nursing staff across the UK. If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to ensure that these vacancies are filled with appropriately registered nursing staff?

3. Despite the 2018 pay award nursing pay has fallen significantly in real terms during your party’s time in Government. If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to ensure that all nursing staff receive a pay award that will at least reverse this significant cut in their salary since 2010?

4. Nursing staff in Northern Ireland have been adversely affected by the lack of a devolved government. If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to resolve the current impasse and ensure that they receive the pay award that they deserve?

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5. With the end of the nursing bursary in England there has been a significant reduction in the number of people entering under-graduate courses. If you become Prime Minister will you restore the bursary, and if not, what will you do to ensure that there is an effective evidence-based policy for recruiting the next generation of nurses?

6. This Government has highlighted the importance of Public Health in preventing ill health. Yet in England there are further cuts in funding and it is proposed to move the funding from the NHS to Local Authority business rates. Will you reverse these policies?

7. If you become Prime Minister will you guarantee that in any future trade deal with the US the NHS including our current system of pharmaceutical purchases will not be up for negotiation.

It is then signed by; Prof. Rod Thomson Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. Past Deputy President Royal College of Nursing. Geoff Earl, Royal College of Nursing Council Member for Scotland. Danielle Tiplady, Royal College of Nursing activist and Registered Nurse. Zeba Arif, Royal College Of Nursing Activist and Former Chair of the Forensic Nursing Forum. Mr. Tom Bolger, Former Assistant General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing. Michelle Russell, Royal College of Nursing Activist. Anthony Johnson, Royal College of Nursing Activist and Health Visitor. Paul Jebb, Royal College of Nursing Member and Registered Nurse. Denise Aine, Registered Nurse and Royal College of Nursing Activist. Maureen Dolan, Royal College of Nursing Activist. Billy Nichols, Royal College of Nursing Activist, Safety Representative and Steward. Dave Dawes, Royal College of Nursing Council Member for North West. Stuart Mckenzie, Royal College of Nursing Activist.

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