A new campaign has been launched calling on the Government to fix the nursing workforce crisis in England as hospitals and care homes warn patient safety is ‘endangered by nursing shortages.’
Launched by the Royal College of Nursing, the campaign says there are almost 40,000 nurse posts vacant in the NHS in England, with serious staffing gaps in care homes and independent hospitals.
The RCN is urging Whitehall to introduce legislation that would ensure accountability for safe nurse staffing at all levels of health and care services in England. Similar legislation is already in place in Scotland and Wales.
It is also calling for the formation of a statutory body that has responsibility for future nurse workforce planning.
The Government should also invest £1bn in higher education for nurses.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘Today we’re issuing a stark warning that patient safety is being endangered by nursing shortages.
‘We’re calling on the public in England to fight for nurses and sign our petition calling on the Westminster Government to invest in the future workforce and make clear who is accountable in law for safe patient care.
‘Nurses are the single most trusted professional group in the whole country, with 96% of the public placing them at the top of a list of occupations including doctors, teachers, the police and scientists.
‘Nursing staff are asking for your support in calling time on this crisis.’