Commenting ahead of the Prime Minister's announcement on Covid-19 winter plans tomorrow (Tuesday 14 September), RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen, said:
“The government must send the right message tomorrow that it will support nursing staff by following the data when it comes to restrictions which can help protect the NHS and care services.
“Health and care staff are not an inexhaustible resource. The last year has shown that, without adequate support and protection, more staff are becoming ill and unable to work, making workforce shortages even worse.
“The government has relied on the goodwill of nursing staff for far too long. When the Prime Minister speaks, he should be mindful that nursing staff have been under intense pressure this summer – and this pressure has been exacerbated by tens of thousands of vacancies.
“As we enter the winter period, Covid case numbers are steadily increasing. Health and care services are already facing massive pressures with having to deliver the flu vaccination programme, treat patients with Long Covid and tackle the enormous backlog of NHS cases.
“Nursing staff have a fundamental role to play in recovery. They will be listening closely to hear what the PM says about the expected expansion of the vaccine programme and other measures to combat Covid-19, such as vaccine passports.”