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RCN says the NHS is Supplementing Nurses with Unregistered Staff

Sarah J

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The Royal College of Nursing says that 90% of England’s largest NHS Hospitals are short of Nursing staff and supplementing them with unregistered staff.

The analysis of data on the NHS Choices website by the Royal College of Nursing had confirmed that a large proportion of NHS hospitals are short of Nurses.

The RCN says the data demonstrates that NHS hospitals are supplementing Registered Nurses by putting more unregistered staff on shift. They explain that with the situation is worse at night when two-thirds of the largest hospital trusts put more health care assistants on the wards than planned.

These findings support the RCN’s recent research highlighting 40,000 nurse vacancies across the NHS in England despite NHS Digital only having adverts for 11,500 vacancies.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said the findings showed patients were being put at risk and called on the Government to increase the number of nurses.

“These startling figures show that, despite the Government’s rhetoric, our largest hospitals still do not have enough nurses and that is putting patients at risk.

“In light of this, the Government must redouble its efforts to train and recruit more qualified nurses and stop haemorrhaging the experienced ones who are fed up, undervalued and burning out fast.”

Janet went on to add it is unreasonable to expect unregistered staff to fill staffing gaps.

“It is unfair on the healthcare assistants too – they should not be left in a situation they have not been trained to handle.

“Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.

The RCN has, once again, reiterated the need for safe staffing legislation to be brought into force in England – who have fallen behind both Scotland and Wales.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Maggie Sokolow

    14th August 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The RCN was warned there could be shortages when they made the decision to go down the degree only route. Am sorry but we as nurses have to carry some of the blame. The HCA’S are carrying the system and make far better bedside nurses than they are given credit for. We should be looking at ways to unskill them.

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Patients are being mislead by unregistered staff using the “Nurse” title

Ian Snug

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Leading nurses warn that organisations are employing unregistered care staff with job titles describing them as “nurses”.

A study has that found hundreds of roles which do not require Nursing and Midwifery Council registration used the term “Nurse” in the job title.  This, understandably, has caused concern that patients are being misled and staff could be working beyond their competence.

According to the Health Service Journal, Jane Cummings, Englands’ Chief Nursing Officer, has written to NHS leaders calling for them to ensure staff who use the nurse title are in fact registered nurses.

We found several examples, on the NHS jobs website, of positions which utilise the “Nurse” title but do not require an NMC Registration to apply;

  • Assistant Nurse Practitioner.
  • Enhanced Supervision Nurse.
  • Clinical Support Nurse.
  • Associate Nurse.
  • Complex Support Nurse.
  • Assistant Nurse.
  • Auxilliary Nurse.
  • Nurse Support Worker.

Jackie Smith, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, has previously said;

“If individuals are calling themselves nurses and they are not on our register, then from a patient perspective that is quite worrying. Employers should not mislead patients into thinking the person in front of them is a registered nurse when they are not. They have a duty to make that clear to patients”.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“Support workers play an extremely important role but there must always be a clear distinction between them and trained nurses.

“As the shortage of nurses begins to bite, the NHS is increasingly filling shifts with more unregistered care staff. They do not have the qualifications and training of registered nurses and it is unfair on the all sides, not least patients, when they replace more qualified staff.

“The Government must not allow nursing on the cheap. When the number of registered nurses on shift falls, it is patient outcomes and mortality rates that are adversely affected.”

Presently, only the title “Registered Nurse” is protected but staff are calling for the title “Nurse” to also be protected.

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MP insists nurses are already well paid compared to hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters

James M

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An MP has come under fire for saying that nurses are already well paid when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his constituency.

During last weeks debate on scrapping the NHS pay cap, Conservative MP Eddie Hughes said he wanted to ‘bring some context’ to the argument and went on to say that NHS staff already have a good deal when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his Walsall constituency.

But, Hughes has come under fire from NHS staff with nurses reiterating the issue not just about pay. The significant real-terms has also caused many nurses to turn to food banks and caused further issues with staff recruitment and retention as student nurse numbers significantly are affected.

Valerie Vaz, the Labour MP for Walsall South, said his comments ‘echoed the government’s contempt for our NHS workers’ and went on to reiterate that nurses are being forced to use food banks to make ends meet and NHS.

Speaking in Parliament, Eddie Hughes, said;

“I completely welcome the hard work that is done by NHS staff up and down the country, but please let me bring some context to the debate.

“The average income in my constituency is £440 a week, which is approximately £23,000 a year. I intend to advocate on behalf of all my constituents, not just those who work in the public sector. The average salary in my constituency is £23,000, which is about the same as a qualified nurse starts on.

“Many workers in my constituency are employed as hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, and what pay rise do they get? They have had to work hard every year for their pay, and when we make the comparison using other factors, such as pension schemes, we see that in order to earn the same sort of pension a plumber would need to be putting away 43 per cent of their salary. Yes, we value the public sector in this country, but the Conservatives value all the workers in this country.”

You can view Eddie Hughe’s speech here.

Mike Adams, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands, said; “They deserve nothing less than fair pay. As it is, we know many nurses work over their hours without pay as a result of staying on after the scheduled end of their shift or working through their breaks to ensure patients are well cared-for”.

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