Connect with us

Health Politics

RCN boss delivers stark warning to the new Prime Minister

Staff and patients are ‘desperate for a signal things will improve’.

Published

on

Dame Donna Kinnair Writing Letter
RCN

The RCN warns a “severe” deficit of nurses is compromising patient care and safety.

The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has written to the new Prime Minister to ward that failing to address several key nursing issues could have serious consequences.

Borris Johnson was appointed as Prime Minister on Wednesday. During his first speak and subsequent statement to parliament on Thursday, he offered several promises to health and social care which include additional funding and resources.

Advertisement

In the letter to Mr Johnson, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, warns a “severe” deficit of nurses is causing “consistently unsafe nurse staffing levels which compromise patient care and safety, leading to unacceptable risk levels for nursing staff and the wider public”

The letter calls for the new PM to provide assurances over; accountability for safe staffing, additional funding for both pre and post-registration study, an immigration system that is “fit for purpose” and reassurances for nursing and healthcare staff over Brexit.

‘Desperate for a signal things will improve’.

Kinnair warns that failing to address these major concerns could have significant consequences throughout health and social care.

She closes the letter by calling for a meeting with the new PM to address the issues.

Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Never in recent history has a prime minister entered office with pressure so great in health and care services.

“A growing number of jobs left unfilled has contributed to a crisis in social care, huge pressure on accident and emergency departments, a health care desert in rural areas and longer waiting lists across the board, from hospitals to GP appointments. It is patients and nursing staff who have to cope with the consequences of these problems. They will be desperate for a signal that things will improve.

“The new prime minister has much to gain in tackling these issues with urgency. Real investment in nurse education and a new legal duty to deliver safe and effective staffing across health and care settings would pay dividends in terms of improved health outcomes from cancer to childhood obesity, and ultimately a more productive economy.”

Education

£200 million NHS training budget could be lost to the private sector

Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.

Published

on

NHS hospital corridor

Money paid by NHS trusts is now being “clawed back by the government”.

More than £200m is lying unused by cash-strapped health trusts in England because of restrictions in the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme.

The restrictions mean that money from the levy can only be used to fund training costs and not salaries – meaning already cash-strapped organisations are unable to recruit additional staff.

Advertisement

Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.

According to the UNISON report, It Doesn’t Add Up, 79% of the levy money is yet to be used and warns that if this trend continues substantial NHS funding will be lost.

Levy money not spent after two years is reallocated to a central Government pot and used to subsidise apprenticeships for smaller employers – who don’t have to pay into the levy. This means cash from NHS budgets being diverted into the private sector.

Millions sat idle while there are 100,000 vacancies.

UNISON is now calling for the Government to change the rules so levy funding can also be spent on apprentice salaries and the wages of staff employed to cover for apprentices when they are training.

They have also suggested that the money could be used to fund a new extensive apprenticeship programme across the entire NHS for nursing and all the other health professions experiencing shortages.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said; “Hundreds of millions of pounds are sitting idle at a time when budgets are stretched and there are 100,000 vacancies across the NHS,”.

“There are real concerns about the standard of training apprentices receive, with many carrying out administrative and clinical support roles for peanuts. Ministers must reform the system to ensure money allocated to the health service stays within the NHS and invest properly to ensure apprenticeships play a full role in solving the growing staffing crisis.”

Continue Reading

Health Politics

Bill calling for safer staffing legislation put before Parliament

There are now 43,671 vacant nursing posts throughout the NHS in England alone.

Published

on

Maria Caulfield

The Bill will seek to “establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

Maria Caulfield, Conservative MP for Lewes, nurse and member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), today brought a Bill designed “to establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

The Bill comes as nursing vacancy rates hit a record high with 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone – leaving 12% of full-time nursing posts unfilled.

Advertisement

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the RCN highlights the impact the nursing staffing crisis is having on patient safety.

Scotland recently secured new legislation on safe staffing and a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.

‘No one is responsible and no one is accountable’.

Ms Cauldfield said; “There is increasing evidence that the right number of qualified nurses can improve patient outcomes in terms of mortality, morbidity and quality of care and that conversely, an insufficient number of nurses can have a potentially life-threatening effect for patients.”

Presenting the primary aim of the Bill as; “to make the Government accountable for nursing levels in England, as currently no one is accountable for nursing levels in England and that is why we have such a high nursing vacancy rate.”

Before adding that the other aims of the Bill were ensuring the NHS has “a fully costed workforce strategy and nursing numbers” alongside ensuring training and development for nurses throughout their career.

Cauldfield controversially voted against scrapping the pay cap for NHS workers in 2017.

Continue Reading

POPULAR