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Nursing ‘short-changed’ by Spring statement

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Nursing ‘short-changed’ by Spring statement The Chancellor was accused of missing an 'opportunity to show a commitment to nursing' by the RCN

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring statement has given nurses little to celebrate, the RCN has said.

According to RCN chief executive Pat Cullen, the cost-of-living crisis means some are having to choose between filling up their cars and feeding their children, with fuel measures announced in the statement not enough to stop nursing staff subsidising the NHS when they fill up their car.

‘When community nursing staff drive great distances to see their patients, giving vital care, this is not enough action - they need immediate additional payments and an urgent review of the rates,’ said Ms Cullen.

Read more: Ukrainian children brought to England for cancer treatment

‘The Chancellor had an opportunity today to show a commitment to nursing by pledging investment in health and care as we rebuild from the pandemic. Instead, the small print shows he is asking the NHS to double the amount of money it saves – he is trying to squeeze even more out of the same staff. This is a false economy that hits patient care and won’t work.’

Other health organisations criticised the government for doing little to address the cost of living crisis, which they say will have a knock-on effect on the health of the public.

‘‘The events of the last two years have taken a significant and enduring toll on the nation’s health. COVID-19 has further widened the health gap between the wealthiest and the poorest, who can on average expect to live shorter, less healthy lives. Today’s announcement shows that the government has yet to fully grasp the pandemic’s stark lesson that health and wealth are fundamentally intertwined. Despite the measures set out today, household incomes are set to fall by 2.2% in real terms in the coming year,’ said Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation.

Read more: Soaring petrol prices could see patient care suffer

‘The pandemic has stretched the financial resilience of many families to its limit. Many have run down their savings or increased debts to cope with the impact of COVID-19 and measures to contain it. And there is no sign that there will be any let up with CPI inflation set to peak at 8.7% at the end of the year. This continuing rise in cost of living will force increasing numbers to choose between essentials that are vital to living healthy lives - such as housing, heating, and food - or being driven into problem debt.’

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