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Staffing for safe and effective care

Join our campaign in England

There are currently almost 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in England, with thousands more vacant posts across public health, social care and the independent sector.

Having the right number of registered nurses with the right knowledge, skills and experience is critical to the delivery of safe and effective care. Posts left unfilled also put enormous pressure on nursing staff as patients expect the same level of care, but delivered by fewer nurses. 

In January 2019, NHS England published its Long Term Plan, which set out its vision for the next 10 years. We've welcomed the ambition in the plan. However, it cannot be delivered without urgent and meaningful action to address the growing workforce crisis. 

We're clear this should be through legislation. 

Our members are shaping the campaign

Following the success in Wales, which became the first country in Europe to enshrine safe staffing in law, and the progress made in Scotland, we’re now campaigning for legislation to guarantee nurse staffing levels in England across all sectors and settings. Members in England recently responded to a consultation on current NHS legislation to raise that workforce was missing from the plans.

We've brought together members, accredited reps and RCN staff from across our nine English regions to develop our campaign in England. It's based around five key principles for UK safe staffing, which have been developed in consultation with staff, members and other experts in the field. 
The campaign is being led by members in every English region so there will be lots of opportunities to get involved over the coming year.

Danielle Tiplady

It’s vital that this work is driven and led by members. We're the ones on the frontline and we are the ones that know what will work.

Danielle Tiplady RCN London member
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blog posts 17 blog posts
  • RCN London members at campaign event Jude Diggins Jude Diggins 7 May 2019

    Staffing for Safe and Effective care - London members get to work

    Regional Director Jude Diggins reflects on RCN London's Staffing for Safe and Effective Care planning event held in April.

  • Catherine Best Catherine Best 8 Apr 2019

    Staffing for Safe and Effective Care - Yorkshire and the Humber event

    RCN Yorkshire and the Humber Board Chair Catherine Best writes about members, activists and staff coming together at a collaborative event on 5 April to start to co-produce and co-plan the regional Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign.

  • Jeremy Benton Jeremy Benton 4 Apr 2019

    #safestaffingsaveslives - South East update

    South East's 'Staffing for Safe and Effective Care' campaign co-lead Jeremy Benton discusses the regional event and the next steps in rolling out the campaign.  

  • Adele Longley Adele Longley 2 Apr 2019

    Staffing for safe and effective care: South East event

    Every big event these days seems to start with a ‘Tweet’ networking and connecting with members together with staff sharing and exploring what we all signed up to.

  • Glenn Turp Glenn Turp 15 Mar 2019

    Staffing for safe and effective care in Yorkshire and the Humber

    Regional director Glenn Turp looks at the latest combined performance figures released by NHS England and the need for urgent action to address the staffing crisis.

  • Estephanie Dunn Estephanie Dunn 11 Mar 2019

    2019 has got off to a flying start

    The year has got off to a flying start with the launch of our safe staffing campaign. The RCN is campaigning for legislation to guarantee nurse staffing levels in England across all sectors and settings. 

  • Dave Dawes Dave Dawes 11 Mar 2019

    Hitting the ground running

    Firstly I wanted to thank everyone who re-elected me back to Council and I am honoured and humbled to have had such strong support from members across the region. 

  • Michael Lawton Michael Lawton 22 Feb 2019

    A landmark day for membership-led activity

    I've just participated in a landmark day for membership-led activity within the Royal College of Nursing. 

  • Vicky Brotherton Vicky Brotherton 22 Feb 2019

    Help to shape the future for our fantastic profession

    Thursday 14 February 2019 was a big milestone for the RCN and member engagement. 

  • Two nurses on an acute ward looking at patient notes Glenn Turp Glenn Turp 22 Feb 2019

    Staffing for safe and effective care

    Safe staffing means having enough nursing staff with the right skills and knowledge, in the right place, at the right time. Without safe staffing levels in place, nursing staff are struggling to provide patients with the safe and effective care which patients deserve and this also puts nursing staff at risk.