In the most recent NHS staff survey, nearly half of registered nurses and midwives said there weren’t enough staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly. Only 30% said there were sufficient staff.
Along with a couple of colleagues from the West Midlands, I recently attended the first in a series of meetings designed to shape a new RCN campaign to press for a new law in England which guarantees that nurse staffing levels are safe.
I heard two very resounding messages from the RCN members, representatives and staff from across England who were in the room.
Firstly, securing a new law will not happen overnight. In Wales, the RCN began campaigning for legally-enforceable nurse staffing levels in 2007 but it wasn’t until April last year – 11 years later – that a new Act for Wales was implemented in full.
Secondly, if we are to succeed with our Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign in England, the involvement of as many of you, our members, as possible is crucial.
In protecting patients from the risks of persistent staff shortages, the legislation we want to see in place will also help to safeguard you, your practice and your wellbeing.
The bigger force we are, the more irresistible our actions become. By adding your voice and your energy to the campaign at what is still very much the planning stage, you can help to ensure it sets out on the right course.
This is just the start, and my hope is that we’re able to look back in a few years’ time and feel proud that our members have played such a crucial role in a momentous change for the better.