The Conservative Party must honour its pledges to increase NHS funding, the RCN have said, after the party won a landslide victory in the 2019 general election.
The party committed to increasing the size of the nursing workforce by 50,000 by 2024, in a pledge outlined in their manifesto.
Nursing organisations have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to honour the pledge, with Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive saying: ‘The Prime Minister must remember that the Government’s new mandate was secured on the back of health and care pledges over which we will hold them to account.
Nursing cannot afford any more piecemeal workforce planning, nor underfunding and working conditions that both put off new recruits and cause experienced nurses to leave the profession they love. Nurses were yet again voted the most trusted profession in the UK last month – and the public wants action to address shortages.’
The party said 18,500 of the 50,000 would come by encouraging existing nurses to stay in the profession and others to return, while 12,500 would also be recruited from abroad.
‘Much was said about nursing during the election campaign, and now the nursing profession must be at the heart of the debate. Any attempts to row back from what patients need will be met with short shrift from the nurses who serve them.’
The party also said that they will invest an additional
£4.5 billion in primary and community health services as part of our £33.9 billion long-term plan for the NHS, which they claim is the biggest increase in a generation.
‘Extensive expert research shows that registered nurses are the key to patient safety, and it needs to be clear in law who in Government and in the system is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient numbers of nurses to meet patients’ needs,’ added Dame Donna. ‘The new Government must take decisive and urgent action to address the growing shortage of nurses, the crisis in social care and any barriers that deter international nursing staff from coming to the UK.’
The Conservatives won 365 seats, 47 more than they won in the last election, in 2017. Labour was reduced to 203 seats. Both parties had focused heavily on the NHS in their campaigns, with Labour pledging to reintroduce the nursing bursary.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary tweeted: Humbled to be entrusted with the future of our wonderful NHS. This new One Nation Government will not let you down.’