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Staffing crisis must end, says RCN chief executive

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Dame Donna Kinnair Dame Donna Kinnair

The Government must end the shortage of nurses in England by returning the £1 billion it took from nursing education, Dame Donna Kinnair, the new RCN chief executive said in her first speech to the organisation’s annual conference.

‘We will not stop until people are held to account for the desperate shortages each and every one of us has witnessed. Politicians must stop short-changing the public. They must stop the rot and put an end to the workforce crisis in nursing,’ said Dame Donna.

“Rather than only looking at the cost of educating and employing nurses, the Government must think about the true cost – financial and human – of not doing it. Employers, decision-makers and Ministers with the power to change things should not let individual nurses take the blame for systemic failings.

Dame Donna also told the audience that all health and social care services in England must have safe staffing levels and accountability set in legislation, after Scotland and Wales introduced similar new laws.

‘The Government must make people accountable in law for this situation and put back, into nursing higher education, the money it so catastrophically ripped out,' added Dame Donna.

‘The goodwill of nursing staff is being abused and politicians must know it is running out. I will not stand by while this profession is denigrated. I’m immensely privileged to take this job and fight for health care assistants, registered nurses and the future of our profession, the students.’

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