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RCN must lobby government to u-turn on safe staffing

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Safe staffing is vital for patient safety Safe staffing is vital for patient safety

The RCN has been asked to lobby the government to u-turn on the decision to remove safe staffing responsibilities from NICE.

In an emergency item put forward to RCN Congrss on 23 June, Jason Warriner said the decision to stop the work on safe staffing levels was a 'step back for nursing.'

Lisa Crooks, an eating disorders nurse from Gloucestershire, expressed that we should 'not forget the plight of our school nursing and community nursing colleagues when considering safe staffing levels. That is where most of the care is going.'

There were some conflicting views on the role of the RCN itself in terms of safe staffing levels. Mark Boothroyd said: 'The government aren't responding to reports. We need to force them, we need to mobilise our members and the RCN needs to take criticism for not mobilising the work and it must be more active or it is doing a disservice to the nurses working out there.'He advocated that nurses in London demonstrate by refusing to work in situations where the levels of patients to staff where unsafe.

However, Andrea Spyropoulos, former president of the RCN, said that the RCN has done plenty of work on safe staffing levels. 'If I had as many nurses as I had reports on failures then we would not have any issues with staffing,' she said.

Dave Dawes, highlighted the fact that NICE had taken so long to produce only two out seven proposed safe staffing guidelines, when the work could have been done so much quicker.

Congress passed the motion with a nearly unanimous vote.

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