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Last Updated: Nov 18, 2006 - 1:55:25 PM

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Medical News : Professionals : Nurses : UK Nursing

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Nurses 'Talking Politics' in UK
Apr 6, 2005 - 5:02:00 PM, Reviewed by: Dr.

"Our 370,000 nurses provide the majority of healthcare in the UK and there are at least 1,000 nurses in each constituency who want all parties to put the health service first. Our manifesto 'Health priorities for the next UK government' outlines a six point health plan for tackling health issues.

With the date now set for the general election, nurses in every constituency throughout the United Kingdom are stepping up their campaign to lobby on issues such as a ban on smoking, more school nurses and the recruitment and retention of nurses. The election comes one week after the RCN Congress, the largest annual gathering of nurses in the UK.

On the announcement of the date of the general election, Beverly Malone, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said:

"All the main parties are making important health announcements and nurses play a vital part in influencing party policies which affect patients, nurses and other healthcare workers.

"Our 370,000 nurses provide the majority of healthcare in the UK and there are at least 1,000 nurses in each constituency who want all parties to put the health service first. Our manifesto 'Health priorities for the next UK government' outlines a six point health plan for tackling health issues.

"The call to address public health is high on the RCN's agenda with the RCN demanding a total ban on smoking in public places as the only way to prevent more premature deaths. Additionally if we are serious about cutting the rise of obesity and sexual ill-health amongst young people, then every child across the UK must have access to a school nurse. However all parties must accept that all these improvements depend on the recruitment of qualified nursing staff. Flexible working hours and guaranteed pensions are crucial otherwise nurses will continue to leave the health service.

"Last year NHS staff suffered more than 116,000 violent attacks. Nurses display a tremendous commitment to their patients and it's simply not right that they face a barrage of violence and abuse on an almost day to day basis. That's why we are demanding assaults against health care staff are given the same legal status as assaults against the police, with attackers prosecuted and appropriately sentenced."

Members will be 'Talking Politics' throughout the week at this year's Congress. Highlights include a parliamentary question time hosted by Adam Shaw of the BBC's Working Lunch with representatives invited from the main parties across the UK as well as a debate on current NHS Pensions Review.

- Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK


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RCN Manifesto 'Health priorities for the next UK government'.

* A total ban on smoking in public places - smoking kills more than 114,000 people in the UK every year and nurses see this devastation in patients and their loved ones every day. A total ban on smoking is the only way to prevent more premature deaths.
* Every child across the UK to have access to a school nurse - there are around 2,500 school nurses in the UK, compared with 40,000 children's social workers and 440,000 teachers. With obesity and sexual ill-health rising amongst children, the role of the school nurse is more important than ever to promote good health.
* Continued drive on recruiting and retaining nurses - Two thirds of our members feel that staffing levels are not high enough to provide good standards of patient care, yet there are currently around 25,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS. Flexible working hours and a guaranteed pension will attract more nurses and help retain the current workforce.
* Acts of violence against nurses must be prosecuted - assaulting nursing staff is unacceptable, and should carry the same penalty as assaults against police. Nobody goes to work to get abused, and prosecuting offenders sends a clear message that nobody can get away with shameful behaviour.
* Nurses need to be in decision-making positions - our members are the primary providers of care, public health and chronic disease management. The appointment of a nurse to decision-making boards ensures that realities on the ground are addressed at the strategic level -bedside to boardroom.
* Fully funded long term nursing care across all four countries of the UK - many patients are still being incorrectly denied funding. Reform is needed to ensure that assessment and care determinations reflect nursing needs and best practice.

RCN Congress 'Talking Politics' will be held at Harrogate International Conference Centre 24th April to 29th April 2005.

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.

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.

Related UK Nursing News
New Govenment Must Double the Number of Nurses
RCN calls for major reforms to combat MRSA
RCN Survey Exposes School Nurse Numbers Crisis
Nurses 'Talking Politics' in UK
RCN welcomes Northern Ireland health service restructuring
RCN welcomes new health service checks unveiled by the Healthcare Commission
New social care body appoints regional team

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