The RCN is demanding that the government properly invests in nursing education, bases workforce assessments on need and makes them public, and puts accountability in law for the provision of staffing in England.
Internationally recruited nurses make a vital contribution to the workforce in the UK. The RCN is clear that any international recruitment must be ethical and not undermine health systems in other countries, and only take place when international recruitment is required to complement the domestic workforce, not instead of appropriate investment in education and training of domestic staff.
Where appropriate international recruitment is required, it must adhere to UK and global Codes of Practice that guide effective and ethical recruitment. We also work to influence a fair, effective and inclusive UK immigration system and appropriate testing and registration process to ensure fair and clear routes for appropriately trained international nurses to join the UK nursing workforce. We’re clear that there must be ministerial accountability for safe staffing written into law in England.
This means that the Secretary of State must have a legal duty to produce a workforce strategy based on population need, to ensure there are enough nursing staff now and in the future.
The RCN is clear that the new Health and Care Bill must reflect the concerns of nursing staff. The Bill must set out in law the responsibilities government ministers have for delivering safe staffing levels for patients and staff and secure the sustainability of health and care services.
The RCN is demanding:
> The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has accountability for workforce planning and supply, as part of service and financial planning
> The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care undertakes and publishes a detailed assessment and analysis of future workforce demand and supply requirements for all health and care services across England
> An expansion in the number of nursing students and full financial support including grants that reflect the real cost of living (a lack of financial support for students on nursing degrees has resulted in a worrying decline in the number of people applying to study nursing in England.
The RCN also expects employers and the government to retain the current nursing workforce, through improved pay, terms and conditions. Find out more about our Fair Pay For Nursing campaign.