New Govenment Must Double the Number of Nurses
Apr 28, 2005 - 12:45:00 PM, Reviewed by: Dr.
|"This election comes one week after our Congress, the largest annual gathering of nurses in the UK who provide the majority of healthcare. There are at least 1,000 nurses in each constituency who all want parties to put the health service first. However all parties must accept that all these improvements depend on the recruitment of qualified nursing staff."
Nurses are still leaving the profession in their thousands, despite the government's high profile recruitment push. The RCN warns that an incoming government will need to put in place measures to double the number of nurses coming into the profession just to maintain existing staffing levels.
The new RCN analysis of the nursing workforce highlights continuing shortages and the impact of the ageing nursing workforce. The analysis will be launched to coincide with the start of the RCN Annual Congress (Sunday 24th April), together with its response to the three main parties manifestos.
A sustained focus on the recruitment and retention of nurses is a key manifesto demand for the RCN. Two thirds of members feel that staffing levels are not high enough to provide good standards of care for patients. The new analysis reveals that 95% of managers had problems with nurse recruitment with little overall change in the level of reported recruitment and retention difficulties since the previous year. Managers also reported continued 'stressful working conditions' and 'heavy or increased workloads' as the most common reasons for nursing staff leaving. Additionally 71% regularly worked more than their contracted hours.
Beverly Malone, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said:
"This election comes one week after our Congress, the largest annual gathering of nurses in the UK who provide the majority of healthcare. There are at least 1,000 nurses in each constituency who all want parties to put the health service first. However all parties must accept that all these improvements depend on the recruitment of qualified nursing staff.
"The current range of policy initiatives has seen staffing growth in recent years yet it's predicted by 2014 we will need twice as many new entrants as we do now just to keep the workforce constant.
2Flexible working hours, access to childcare and guaranteed pension arrangements are also key."
- OME (2005) Workforce Survey Results for Nursing staff, Midwives and Health Visitors, 2004; OME London;  OME (2005) Workforce Survey Results for Nursing staff, Midwives and Health Visitors, 2004., p OME London;  Healthcare Commission (2005) NHS national staff survey 2004. Healthcare Commission, London.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.
The RCN's labour market commentary distils information about the nursing workforce from UK sources.
* Analysis is complicated because some sources present combined data for the UK. (For example, the NMC provides UK combined data in respect of entrants to the UK register. )
* The NHS National Workforce Projects/Workforce Review Team has assessed the inflow and outflow of the nursing profession (including retirements). The current net loss of nurses 2004/2005 in England is estimated at around 15,000 nurses.
* It's predicated that this net loss of nurses in England will rise to 25,000 by 2015.
* It concludes entrants to the register will need to double by 2014 just to keep the workforce constant.
* It is reasonable to assume a similar trend in the other UK countries. If the projection is accurate the UK will need around 66,000 new entrants by 2014.
RCN Manifesto 'Health priorities for the next UK government'
* A total ban on smoking in public places
* Every child across the UK to have access to a school nurse
* Continued drive on recruiting and retaining nurses
* Acts of violence against nurses must be prosecuted
* Nurses need to be in decision-making positions.
* Fully funded long term nursing care across all four countries of the UK
RCN Congress 'Talking Politics' Special Election Question Time will be held at Harrogate International Conference Centre on Monday 25th April from 5.45pmĀ - 7.15pm. Panellist will include health spokespeople from all three main political parties.
The week will include RCN President Sylvia Denton's OBE FRCN speech opening congress on Sunday 24th April 2005 and RCN General Secretary Dr Beverly Malone's keynote speech on Tuesday 26th April 2005.
Visit the RCN general election website www.rcn.org.uk/resources/generalelection2005/.
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