It has been an exciting week in RCN Wales with the launch of our manifesto which can be found at https://votefornursing.cymru/ in readiness for Welsh Government elections in May 2021. We will be lobbying all of the political parties virtually (in this mad world) to look at their own campaign and include the things that matter to nurses.
Nurses care for everyone from cradle to grave. The work we do is complex and multifaceted in a number of diverse settings. We care for people across the whole spectrum including health promotion, care provision and promoting rehabilitation and recovery. We also care for those who are more vulnerable in society and those who find it difficult to access healthcare. This manifesto looks to cover all these elements that we experience and care about and RCN Wales are giving 5 actions to the next Government that they must do. These are:
Ensure safe and effective nursing care – and enough nurses to deliver
We know nursing is a safety critical profession and there is research which links poor staffing to poor patient / resident outcomes We also know we have an unacceptable amount of nursing vacancies and retention is poor and getting worse with Covid-19. The government needs to make the profession more attractive for individuals to join; they need to increase student nurse places and they need to ensure a robust recruitment strategy in all sectors
Invest in community and care homes
Care closer to home has been the government mantra for years and although community services have been invested in, core services such as District nursing have been often overlooked. This needs to be rectified. The government also needs to recognise the impotence of the social care sector and the valuable role they play. The new government needs to increase the profile of registered nurses in the care sector and support the recruitment of international nurses.
Support mental health and wellbeing
Mental health is an ever-increasing problem in our population without the stresses and strains that come with living through a pandemic. The government must increase mental health and support services in the community and develop emotional resilience in pre-16 education.
Improve health and fight to end health inequalities
We know that some of our communities and more vulnerable people have difficulty accessing health and wellbeing services. We are demanding that the government increase the capacity of healthy living initiatives such as the National Exercise referral scheme and that there are initiatives aimed at BAME communities, older people and women. We also demand that the government make it a statutory requirement to deliver sexual health in schools and more resources are given to increase the provision of sexual health services across Wales.
Value nursing – Fair pay and access to CPD
Nursing is a highly skilled profession that requires specialist knowledge to inform clinical judgement. Now more than ever nurses of all grades should be valued across all sectors for the role they play. This should be reflected in fair pay and improved terms and conditions including access to continual professional development. The government have to step up – the time of clapping is over – we need action.
I would be interested to hear your views on the priorities within our manifesto. Please tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email Communications.Wales@rcn.org.uk
Look after yourselves