So here we are, in post-election Britain. By now you have likely either got over the shock or the euphoria (depending on how you look at it). The positive is that at least we can count on continuity for the NHS. Nurses have lost Dan Poulter, the minister with responsibility for among others nursing, who has returned to the back benches to spend more time in clinical practice. Ben Gummer replaces him, a new face among the old stalwarts of the last government. Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb has left government (a shame) but is a Lib Dem leadership candidate. His promotion of mental health and the need for more services, make me hopeful for his leadership bid.
It remains to be seen whether or not the government will be able to bring to bear any of its lofty plans, namely 7-day access to general practice and 24/7 NHS services. It seems unlikely, with the state of the NHS finances and the GP recruitment crisis and imminent practice nurse retirement bulge. Some think that the introduction of 24/7 services and the likely cut to unsocial hours pay could lead to industrial relations problems. No wonder the government wants to change the law so that unions can only strike if 50% of those eligible to vote support it.
On another note, the IN office can't wait for normal service to resume. The Department of Health, Public Health England and others have been static during the election campaign, and news in general has been slow, so we are keen for the onslaught to begin. Things outside of the election have been rather flat. Do get in touch if you know of any news or events affecting nurses in primary care in your local area.
Rita Som, editor, Independent Nurse