Our NHS cannot survive without its nurses, yet we have fewer nurses per head now than we did when this government came to power in 2010. We need tens of thousands more nurses to provide safe care, yet we are losing thousands of our most experienced nurses who have been let go to be replaced – if replaced at all – by cheaper, less experienced staff to cut costs.
A pay cut of 15% in real terms has contributed to an exodus of British nurses to Australia, New Zealand and America, while trusts attempt to plug the gap by recruiting from the EU and elsewhere. Nurse training places – which are already hugely over-subscribed – have been cut by thousands by this government.
Those NHS nurses who do struggle on must do so beset by understaffing and stress, while trusts spend £1,200 a minute on emergency cover from agencies.
This is a wholly wrong, ludicrously wasteful, debilitating crisis that has been created by this government in pursuit of its wrong-headed Austerity policies. It cannot go on much longer without causing the system to collapse.
This government's policies are decimating our NHS. The NHA Party says it is vital to restore nursing in the NHS to the gold standard: good, properly funded, permanent jobs that our nurses can train for and will want to stay in – for all our sakes!
We support and will adopt the Royal College of Nursing's manifesto:
- Improve patient care - safe staffing levels, access to training and environments where staff concerns are listened to.
- Value nursing - fair pay for nursing staff, an end to downbanding and for a focus on the future of nursing.
- Invest in health and care - no more cuts to nursing, increased community resources and workforce planning around patient need.