The consultation closed on Thursday 25 April and 10,000 emails were sent telling the NHS in England why they must address the severe shortages of nursing staff.
What were NHS England and NHS Improvement consulting on?NHS England and NHS Improvement proposed changes they thought were needed to the Health and Social Care Act. Their proposed changes focused on integration and collaboration and giving more power to local leaders.
However, there was a big gap in what they were suggesting – and that’s the workforce.
What did we want considered as part of the consultation?The consultation was an opportunity to raise the issue of accountability for the workforce with NHS England and NHS Improvement.
There are almost 40,000 nursing posts empty in England alone. This workforce crisis has happened because it's not clear in law who is responsible for making sure we have enough nurses.
- a law that makes it clear who’s accountable for ensuring there’s an adequate supply of registered nurses and nursing support staff to meet the needs of our population.
- the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to be accountable to the UK Parliament for making sure that there are enough healthcare staff to provide safe and high quality care.
- clear duties for the national and local organisations. By clarifying all of the roles and responsibilities, it would produce an environment in which everyone works together to secure the workforce required now and in the future.
What happens next?Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary will be giving oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday 30 April.
We will use this opportunity to set out why accountability needs to be included in the legislative proposals and any new law which affects health and social care.
Following this, the parliamentary session where new laws can be debated ends in June 2019.
Soon after, the Queen will make a speech setting out the UK Government’s new legislative programme for the next parliamentary session.
It’s our ambition that this speech will include a bill to make sure that the changes needed to the current NHS legislation can be made.
If a new law is mentioned in the Queen’s Speech, we will have further opportunities to campaign to make sure our principles for safe and effective staffing are included in any legislation.