Stevenage nurse in parliament to highlight 'NHS staffing crisis that's risking patient safety'

PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 July 2019

Stevenage nurse Anne Wells (second from right) went to parliament with colleagues to highlight the NHS staffing crisis. Picture: Steve Baker.

Stevenage nurse Anne Wells (second from right) went to parliament with colleagues to highlight the NHS staffing crisis. Picture: Steve Baker.

Steve Baker

A nurse based in Stevenage has joined colleagues from across the country in parliament to demand an end to what is being described as an NHS staffing crisis which is putting patients at risk.

The Royal College of Nursing is campaigning for new legislation to make government and NHS bosses explicitly accountable for safely staffing health and care services in England.

Stevenage nurse Anne Wells joined more than 50 other nursing staff and students to meet 115 MPs and peers from all parties to discuss their experiences.

According to the RCN, one in 10 nursing positions in the NHS in England alone are currently unfilled - leaving a shortfall of about 40,000 nurses. More than 10,000 nurses and midwives from European Union countries have quit the NHS since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Anne has been leading planning of the RCN's Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign in the East of England, working alongside other nursing staff to highlight the staffing crisis.

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She said: "In parliament we were lucky enough to meet with many MPs who seemed very interested in what we were saying. One MP has agreed he will raise a question in the house.

"There were a lot of us who attended the event and the energy in the room was amazing.

"Many nurses gave up their precious time to attend and I hope this means politicians will now listen to our concerns about the impact of staff shortages on the workforce and patients."

The RCN is also campaigning for investment of at least £1 billion a year in nurse education, in a bid to attract and retain a new generation of nurses and make nursing a viable career option for people from all backgrounds.

Teresa Budrey, RCN's eastern regional director, said: "Health and social care services throughout the region are reaching a tipping point, with nurses routinely working many hours of unpaid overtime to deliver the care people need. This puts nurses under impossible strain and puts patients at risk. We are clear this is because there is no explicit accountability in law to ensure there are enough professionals - with the right skills mix, in the right place, at the right time - to provide safe and effective care to patients across England.

"Our members had a clear message for the government - change the law so health and care services are not starved of much-needed health care staff."

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