Starting as we mean to go on

 Mark Farmer 18 Feb 2020

It has been a jam-packed start to 2020 at RCN London. The first event was Inclusion Solution, Leading from the Front, then the publication of Living in the Red: the cost of living crisis for London's nursing workforce, plus safe staffing events.

London members holding a safe staffing banner

The first event of the year was Inclusion Solution, Leading from the Front. Our speakers looked at inclusion from an LGBTQ+ perspective, considering training for nursing staff, understanding the patient experience and the stigma still faced by LGBTQ+ people accessing health and care services.  

A key theme that ran throughout the day was a lack of the data and the importance of monitoring. Without data, patient groups effectively are invisible: 'If you don't count us, we don't count'. Do you know what patient data your Trust collects? Do you think it should collect more to be more inclusive? Change can and must happen: for example up until 2017, the UK had no data on trans people and HIV, so cliniQ worked with Public Health England to change this. This type of information is essential to inform services and policy to make sure patients get the care they deserve. 

It’s also crucial to hear the workforce voice as well. Do you think your employer knows and understands the full diversity of its workforce? If not work with your local RCN reps and officers to improve this or better still become a rep yourself and take this conversation into the workspace. 

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK. It’s a time challenge intolerance and to celebrate the LGBT+ community. So if you missed the event, or would like a reminder of the presentations, you can access them here

We published our ‘Living in the Red: the cost of living for London’s nursing workforce’ report. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. You can see the headline stats and access the full report here.

Based on what you told us, we’ve drawn up three recommendations to tackle the cost of living crisis: building affordable housing, introducing rent controls and free travel for nursing staff. We are already talking to politicians, London Mayoral candidates and health and care system leaders about making these a reality. If you’re on Twitter, keep the momentum going and tweet using #LivingintheRed.

It’s no surprise that the cost of living is adding to the safe staffing crisis in the capital. The report is more evidence that things need to change: if 57% of respondents told us they will or are considering leaving London, how many more nursing vacancies might there be on top of the existing 10,550? The effect on patient care and staff wellbeing is unthinkable. 

Which leads us on to the campaign for Staffing for Safe and Effective Care. This month we held our first safe staffing collaborative meeting of 2020. Members put forward some exciting ideas for taking the campaign to the next level. Watch this space.

Plus with a new government elected at the end of 2019, there was also a discussion about what a new Parliament means for the campaign. Part of this is engaging with all MPs to become Nursing Champions, that is to stand up for nursing. Now is the time to build relationships with MPs across the political spectrum, tell them about the challenges you face, and secure their support for the changes you want, and need, to see. The communications team can set up the meeting, attend with you if you’d like and provide materials. Contact Communications Manager John Considine to find out more, and to get that meeting booked in.

So let’s continue 2020, the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, just as we’ve started, with members coming together to fight for inclusion and celebrate diversity, fight for safe staffing and fight to make sure the capital stays a great place to live and work.

Mark Farmer

Mark Farmer

Operational Manager

Operational Manager

Mark Farmer is an Operational Manager for the RCN London region.

Page last updated - 20/07/2020