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Services already unsustainable, says RCN

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Nursing staff are at breaking point Nursing staff are at breaking point

As daily COVID-19 cases rise above 40,000 for over a week, the RCN has urged the government to stop denying pressure on nursing staff.

The comments come after Health Minister Edward Argar said current pressures in the NHS are sustainable and the government will not resort to ‘Plan B’ – reintroducing mandatory face masks and other social distancing measures – yet.

‘Nursing staff, exhausted and working under the strain of tens of thousands of vacancies, will be angered to hear ministers say the pressures in the NHS are sustainable,’ said Chair of RCN Council, Carol Popplestone.

‘All those working in hospitals, GP surgeries and the community know the reality.’

Health Secretary Sajid Javid recently suggested the country could see 100,000 COVID-19 cases a day as winter progresses, and there are increasing calls from health experts calling on the government to initiate Plan B to help reduce the number of cases.

‘The pressure on services is already unsafe and unsustainable and is heading in one clear direction,’ added Ms Popplestone. ‘Denying the problem does not help patients nor staff.’

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The warnings from the RCN combined with this weeks CQC's report on the State of Care reflect the true picture of the crisis facing the NHS. The Secretary for State cannot ignore the warnings, something more than Plan B will be required to keep the NHS functioning through the winter.

Mike Paynter
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