The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the government to urgently address the shortage of nursing staff that it says is “putting staff and patients at risk”.
The RCN says that the COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and increased the pressures that staff face. Whilst some staff have been redeployed to address staffing gaps, the RCN describes the situation as “untenable” with the profession facing severe shortages.
The RCN is calling on governments to properly invest in the training of new nurses, whilst recommending that nursing students in all nations of the UK have their fees abolished and receive a universal living maintenance grant. An immediate pay rise for nursing staff is also advised.
Susan Masters, the RCN’s Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs, states: “With experienced nursing staff saying they are considering leaving the profession, it is clear that action needs to be taken now to protect the health and wellbeing of nursing staff as well as to build a workforce fit for the future.
“Unless all the governments in the UK act now, there is very real risk the health and wellbeing of those who dedicate themselves to the care of others could become terribly damaged.”
Liaison Workforce Managing Director, Judith Shaw, says: “On World Patient Safety Day [Thursday 17th September], and in the aftermath of the initial COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that more nurses are needed in the NHS. In the meantime, we continue to work with NHS organisations to develop insights and help manage their workforces, through the use of people analytics and integrated technologies for ultimate worker flexibility.
“Whilst we recognise that this is not an ultimate solution, and further nurses are needed, we aim to ease some of the pressures on nursing teams with effective technological solutions and considered support from our experts.”
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