UK Nursing
Nurses 'Talking Politics' in UK
Apr 6, 2005 - 5:01:38 PM

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.

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