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Unsustainable pressures

Resources to support RCN members dealing with unsustainable service pressures

The health and care system is under pressure to ensure services are delivered in a safe and timely manner, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified existing pressures on staffing and resources in all health and care settings.

However, pressures on health and care services are not limited to COVID-19 or the increased demands caused by winter infections.

This resource is designed to support RCN members both in delivering safe and effective care and with the difficult decisions they make every day. These decisions often relate to the type of care provided, how it is provided and who it is provided to, and can have wider implications on the delivery of health and social care services.

Safe staffing

  • Staffing for Safe and Effective Care - We're calling for safe and effective care to be enshrined in law in each UK country.
  • Find out more about what we're doing to campaign for safe staffing in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Nursing Workforce Standards

The RCN's Nursing Workforce Standards are the first national blueprint for tackling the nursing staff shortage levels across the UK. 

They set the standard for excellent patient care and nursing support in all settings, and all UK countries.

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Helpful resources

The principles of job evaluation and the initial steps you take to analyse your role should apply in all settings at any employer.

Within the NHS, the formal Job Evaluation Scheme is how your pay is decided. In independent health and social care settings, the process to evaluate your role may be more complex due to different terms and conditions.

Nursing mental health and wellbeing

Keeping Safe Under Pressure webinar

RCN President Denise Chaffer and Professional Nursing Committee chair Rachel Hollis talk with Professor Geraldine Walters, Executive Director of Professional Practice at the NMC about keeping safe during current pressures.

More information can be found on the NMC website, including The Code.

How do I raise concerns?

We have developed template content to send to your employer on the below issues. We know that this can feel quite scary to do, but you can be reassured you are doing the right thing in raising your concerns and the RCN will support you to take things further if needed.

Helpful advice and support from the RCN

We're here for you

If you're an RCN member and need help with any aspect of your employment, you can access advice online or contact us directly. We're here to help - wherever you work.

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Member support services

As an RCN member, you can get free, confidential help and advice on a range of issues that affect you at home and at work.


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