Legislation to address the shortage of registered nurses and nursing staff in England is vital to ensure patient safety, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair has said.
Giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s enquiry into the consultation process, Dame Donna said that ‘successive secretaries of state have taken decisions which mean we cannot deliver the long-term plan. The lack of accountability on staffing has put us back years, so there needs to be an explicit accountability for the workforce with the secretary of state.’
The RCN has reiterated its call for explicit accountability for ensuring a sufficient number of staff across health and care to be enshrined in law.
The organisation’s evidence also stressed that the government’s drive to move more care from acute A&E hospitals into the community will be impossible without a substantial increase in the number of nursing staff.
Additionally, according to the RCN, Integrated Care Providers should only be formed if it can be demonstrated that there will not be an adverse effect on the pay, terms and conditions of any staff involved, or on patient care and safety.
‘There is no delivery of the long-term plan without investment in the workforce,’ added Dame Donna. We cannot go on thinking we can have the same number of nurses and just move them around and feel we can deliver a safe, quality NHS. This is why we need a commitment for accountability. We are talking about accountability to Parliament for the workforce of our biggest treasure, the NHS.’