As the challenges you face stay with us, please know that the RCN Eastern team is here to support you. As well as the day-to-day assistance we give to members facing individual challenges in the workplace, we are continuing to campaign on the issues that matter to you. These include ensuring there are safe staffing levels to provide safe and effective care, as well as campaigning on achieving fair pay which recognises your skills and responsibilities.
Last month, the RCN published a report on the unsustainable pressures being experienced by the health and social care sector in England. Among the issues highlighted in the report were “clear symptoms of an unsustainable system” including record emergency waiting times. It also outlined so-called “corridor care”, which it described as “fundamentally unsafe and must not be normalised”. Along with dangerously high levels of bed occupancy in hospitals, rocketing registered nurse sickness levels and the drastic decrease in district and school nurse numbers, the report paints a worrying picture of the system we all rely upon.
The government may think these pressures are sustainable, but we do not. They need to wake up to the reality and provide the investment that is needed to ensure patient care is not damaged any further. This will be a key focus for us as we move into 2022.
As a learning disability nurse, I have also been concerned by news that the University of East Anglia has taken the decision not to enrol any new students onto its LD nursing degree programme, due to low application numbers. There are already dire shortages of learning disability nurses, leaving vulnerable patients at risk of harm. We need to review LD nurse training in England and ensure there is commitment to safeguard a supply of LD nurses of the future. If you have an interest in LD nursing, why not join our LD nursing forum?
Our team are looking forward to working with you in 2022 and hope you’ll be able to join us at our regional events. Look out for invites from your branch as well as regional learning opportunities and campaign events. Our members have led much of our campaign work this year and we need as many of you as possible to continue this excellent work. Keep an eye on our regional events page for opportunities to get involved.
Thank you for all that you do and please look after yourselves. The RCN is here to offer advice and support when you need it – check out the website for more information. Are you inspired to get active in 2022 and become an RCN rep? Find out more here.