NHS set to change again
The landscape of the NHS is set to change dramatically. Again.
It would be easy to dismiss the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) being drawn up across our region and the whole of England as just another fiddling at the edges of the NHS. If there is one thing that those of us working in the NHS are used to it is change.
But these plans have the potential to vastly change the environments you work in and the services received by patients.
Already there are reports from some areas of England that the plans will include proposed ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to the way care is delivered in A&E and GP practices.
Until we have the detail of the plans we can only guess at what is to come, but the RCN will be fully engaged in consultations over the plans and follow closely how they will affect our members.
The aim of STPs is to bring local health and care leaders, organisations and communities together to help plan and sustain local health services for the next five years. The plans should include a focus on improving health and wellbeing, but this is set against a backdrop of tough financial times and an NHS already struggling with demand and cutbacks.
At the forefront of our minds must be the need for staffing to remain at safe levels – both for patients and nurses already working under intense pressure. We can only deliver great care with the right number of skilled professionals working in the right settings.
Any potential risk to patient safety is extremely serious and the RCN will always work to ensure that safe staffing remains a top priority, at a local level and right through to the Government.
It is vital that nursing staff are actively involved and engaged in the transformation plans, from their point of conception through to their delivery.
Nursing skills and knowledge will play a key part in ensuring this latest earthquake in the NHS landscape has as few tremors as possible.
Abuse of nursing colleagues unacceptable - Let's stand with our EU staff
The result of the recent EU referendum vote to leave the European Union is already leading to uncertainty for our much-valued EU nurses working in hospitals, care homes, as community nurses and in our education institutions across the East of England.The most concerning result of the referendum has been an increase in reported hate crime, with attacks targeted at the homes and businesses of those who have moved to our region from overseas. To say this is totally unacceptable is a massive understatement and we wholeheartedly condemn any prejudice or abuse directed at nursing staff and, indeed, anyone who finds themselves the target of abuse.