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RCN opens consultation on potential industrial action

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The Royal College of Nursing has opened its consultation over potential industrial action in response to continuing pay restraint.

Members in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who work in the NHS will be asked about the impact of the NHSPRBs recommendation to extend the 1% pay cap. The consultation will determine how the RCN should respond, and whether members would consider taking industrial action – in any form.

How to take part? Visit the Royal College of Nursing Poll site after 10am on the 13/04/2017. This poll closes at 11pm on Sunday 7 May 2017.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary said: “The decision taken today by RCN Council shows their concern for the impact continued pay restraint is having on dedicated nursing staff.

“The pay cap is fuelling a recruitment and retention crisis, and when compounded by issues such as down banding, substitution of roles and student funding changes, it’s a perfect storm for nursing.

“I urge members to look out for this consultation and share their views with us; we are a member-led organisation and you will directly shape the next steps of our Nursing Counts campaign.

“Take this important opportunity to make your voice heard.”

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RCN says the NHS is Supplementing Nurses with Unregistered Staff

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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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‘Thousands’ of funded training places for Student Nurses & Midwives announced

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The Government has announced ‘up-to’ 10,000 extra funded places for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England by 2020.

The Department of Health says that it plans to reinvest some of the annual £1.2bn it will save after removing bursaries from student nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals back into training new healthcare professionals.

This news comes only a week after the official end to the NHS Bursary system in England.

‘Extra’ university places will be available for a range of healthcare roles including; nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The actual number of places will be officially revealed next week when universities begin to fill empty spaces on their courses through their clearing process.

Health Education England (HEE) has previously claimed it received no extra money to fund more clinical placements in the 2017-18 academic year but changes to the way educational placements work could be to blame.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“There just aren’t enough nurses in training to fill the thousands of vacant posts, and the removal of student nurse funding is only driving down applications further. Meanwhile, the pay cap is forcing many nurses out of the profession they love”.

Many claim the move is part of a bigger plan to create more ‘homegrown’ nurses as the government fails to reassure nurses from the EU that they will be welcome post-brexit.

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