Rayne nurse adds voice to call for government to act on nationwide staff shortages

Sarah (far right), with other Royal College of Nursing members. Picture: ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING

Sarah (far right), with other Royal College of Nursing members. Picture: ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING - Credit: Archant

A Rayne nurse joined colleagues in parliament to demand an end to staff shortages in the profession.

At the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) event, Sarah Everett joined more than 50 other nursing staff and students in meeting 115 MPs and peers from all parties to discuss their experiences.

The RCN is launching a campaign for new legislation to make Government and NHS bosses accountable for safely staffing health and care services.

One in 10 nursing positions in the NHS in England are unfilled, according to the RCN, leaving a shortfall of about 40,000 nurses, including thousands in the East of England.

Sarah said: "Talking to other staff at this event made it clear to me that we need to retain experienced NHS nurses. They will be the coaches and mentors that look after and support the new students and the international workforce.

"Without their experience and knowledge, patient experiences of the NHS and care may still be unsafe. Safe staffing is not all about numbers - if we can't retain what we have and look after and support those nurses then they can't pass on their skills, knowledge and leadership to the next wave of NHS nurses."

The RCN is also campaigning for investment of at least £1 billion a year in nurse education, to attract and retain a new generation of nurses.

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Teresa Budrey, RCN 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 that this is because there is no explicit accountability in law to ensure that 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."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "It is a requirement for hospitals to have the right staff, in the right place, at the right time and our long term plan sets out how we will make sure the NHS stays the safest healthcare system in the world."