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RCN calls for NHS pay deal to be extended to social care staff

“If integrated health and care is going to succeed, we must lift up the pay, terms and conditions of nurses and care assistants working beyond the National Health Service.”

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The Royal College of Nursing has called for the proposed NHS pay deal to be extended to those working in social care.

Jeremy Hunt must extend the recent NHS pay deal to nurses and care workers in social care, general practice and the independent sector to avoid a “dangerous imbalance” that is harming patients, the Royal College of Nursing has said.

In a letter to the Health Secretary, Janet Davies argues the social care sector delivers more patient care than NHS hospitals and urges additional funding to “level the playing field” to avoid people being “drawn away” from where they are needed.

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Understaffing and a shortage of specialist skills is a major issue across the health and social care sector. With some patients unable to access preventative health services, and many care workers forced to limit their visits to just ten minutes, poor pay is putting vulnerable people at risk.

We need improvement for all staff.

The RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary said that improving terms and conditions of all nursing staff employed by contractors, but delivering publicly-funded services, would help employers to address recruitment and retention problems and improve standards.

Davies calls for a new and separate staff council to be established in England to negotiate for all nursing staff not directly employed by an NHS organisation. It would take a similar form to the current NHS council, made up of government, employers and trade unions.

She said nursing staff “delivering NHS services but not employed by NHS organisations complain that they endure poorer working conditions and loss of career and education opportunities”.

Davies highlights an average turnover of over thirty percent in social care and said recruitment and retention of staff is even more challenging in that sector than the NHS.

Social care is seen as the ‘poor relation’.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said during her keynote speech at RCN congress 2018 yesterday; “For too long, social care has been seen as the poor relation. The chronic underfunding has led to employers driving down costs and failing to recognise the knowledge and skills required to care for the most vulnerable members of our society. This is as true for registered nurses as it is for care workers.

“Many of you who work in health and social care for independent sector employers do not earn the same as your equivalents in the NHS. The real Living Wage is an issue and working conditions can be poor.

“It’s unsurprising that care staff turnover is high when the minimum wage is all they are offered. The real living wage should be paid as an absolute minimum and employers must work with us to bring stability to the sector. We believe the time has come to establish new arrangements to negotiate for all nurses and care assistants providing publicly-funded care but not directly employed by the NHS.

“If integrated health and care is going to succeed, we must lift up the pay, terms and conditions of nurses and care assistants working beyond the National Health Service.”

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Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

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Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

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Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

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Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

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With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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