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Warnings about falling nurse numbers have been ignored

23 Jul 2018

The RCN has reacted angrily to the Government’s response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee report on the nursing workforce inquiry in England.

Nursing associates

In response to the inquiry, the Government failed to commit to increase funding for continuing professional development and argued that the removal of the nursing student bursary has created a sustainable long-term model for universities and the health care workforce supply.

The RCN’s position is that this model is not working and is not sustainable in the long term.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said: “Despite acknowledging nursing applications are down by a third following the removal of student funding, the Government has offered no clear solution to boost student numbers - choosing instead to plough ahead with a policy that is increasingly looking like a disaster.”

The Government has also failed to address workforce planning based on the needs of the population in any meaningful way.

“The Government took six months to mull over the nursing workforce crisis yet have offered very little in the way of solutions,” Janet said. “Professional nurses need the resources and support to do their jobs, not empty top-down initiatives. This is a missed opportunity to reverse the decline in nursing workforce numbers, training support and morale.

“Failure to address these problems will have lasting consequences for patients. Ministers should know better than to ignore the advice of experts.”

The Government also said the nursing associate role is not a replacement for registered nurses and reiterated how much it values the contribution of EU nursing staff while saying more must be done to grow the domestic workforce. 

Page last updated - 15/08/2018