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Staffing for safe and effective care

Join our campaign in England

There are currently more than 41,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS England alone, with thousands more vacant posts across the 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 the vision for the next 10 years. The RCN has welcomed the ambition in the plan – people using the health service can expect to receive more support to prevent long-term conditions, shorter waits for treatment and more care within their community. However, the plan cannot be delivered without urgent and meaningful action to address the growing workforce crisis – and the RCN is clear this should be through legislation.

Our members will shape 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.

We’re bringing together members, accredited representatives and RCN staff from across our nine English regions to develop our campaign in England, including what the campaign will ask for. It will be based around five key principles for UK safe staffing, which have already been developed in consultation with staff, members and other experts in the field.
The campaign will be led by members in every English region so there will be lots of opportunities to get involved over the coming year.

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Stay updated and get involved

Sign up to receive updates on the campaign and how you can get involved. 

Help shape the campaign

We're holding events in each region in England for members to attend to help design and run the campaign. Book your place today to ensure your voice is heard.

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
blog posts 7 blog posts
  • Maggy Heaton Maggy Heaton 22 Feb 2019

    Get behind the Safe and Effective Care campaign

    Nurses in all areas are struggling to give safe and effective care to their patients.  This is something I hear about all the time.    In 2017 the RCN conducted a survey asking members about your experience at work, particularly reflecting on your last shift, and feedback from the North West really stood out – exceeding the English average in a lot of areas. 

  • 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. 

  • Tracey Budding Tracey Budding 22 Feb 2019

    Safe staffing - be in at the start of something big

    How often are you frustrated that you cannot deliver the quality of care that your patients and service users need because there aren’t enough staff on duty? How often are you anxious that they might not even be safe?

  • 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. 

  • Nuclear reaction Professor Anne Marie Rafferty Professor Anne Marie Rafferty 20 Feb 2019

    Safe staffing campaign will spark a nursing nuclear reaction

    Our call for legislation in all four countries of the UK has the potential to be one of the most potent campaigns the College has ever run, says RCN President Anne Marie Rafferty.

  • Jeremy Benton Jeremy Benton 18 Feb 2019

    Staffing for safe and effective care: view from the South East

    Staffing for safe and effective care, it may not be catchy but it's coming your way, it's going to be big - get excited, get involved.