The need for investment in the nursing workforce has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCN has said in response to latest CQC report.
The CQC’s annual report looks at the state of health and social care services in England over the past year, praises the efforts of nursing staff caring in the pandemic, but shows there is still urgent need for reform, investment and workforce planning. It also shows the pandemic has led to greater inequalities in patient care.
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‘This report demonstrates the pressures nursing staff witness every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the inequalities faced by many in the health and care system. For many, such as those from BAME communities, access to services has only got worse,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair.
‘The lack of investment in areas such as social care has pushed services to the edge putting the care of patients at real risk. This should be a wake-up call which leads to a truly integrated health and care system that puts the long-term care of patients at its heart.’
The report also found that the impact of COVID-19 has been felt more severely by those who were already more likely to have poorer health outcomes. This included people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities and people living in more deprived areas, making the need for health and care services to be designed around people’s needs all the more critical.
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‘There now needs to be proper investment in the entire workforce so patients can receive high quality care wherever and whenever they need it,’ added Dame Donna.‘We share the view that this needs to include training and progression that retains the skilled and experienced nursing workforce we already have, but also attracts new nurses to grow the workforce for the long-term. Now is the time for the government to act to protect patients, staff and the long-term ability of the health and care system to deliver the care patients need.’