Responding to the joint Committee report on lessons learnt from COVID-19, RCN Council Chair, Carol Popplestone, said
“The long-term failure to invest in the nursing workforce meant health and care services were chronically under resourced to deal with the pressures of the pandemic.
“The report highlights how staff stepped up to be redeployed to areas of critical care to protect those most in need and yet they were continually let down by failures at the highest levels. The massive nursing shortage meant student nurses being called to the frontline, disrupting their studies and readiness to qualify.
“Nursing staff across the whole health and care system were given false reassurances on PPE and those in their care were put at risk by failures in test and trace.
“Warnings were repeatedly ignored and the terrible impact on the most vulnerable is laid bare in this report.
“There can now be no delay to the start of a public inquiry into the failings. The first lesson must be ensuring proper accountability in government for workforce planning and supply is built into law”