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'Massive gaps' in children's nursing, says RCN lead

RCN professional lead for children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith responded to a survey on rota vacancies by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 

There are massive gaps in childrens nursing staffing and a significant increase in the number of undergraduate training places is required to address the problem, the RCN professional lead for children and young peoples nursing Fiona Smith has said.

Ms Smiths comments follow the publication of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) annual Rota vacancies and compliance survey of lead paeditricians.

Services are unsustainable according to 77% of respondents, with the survey finding evidence of staff shortages for doctors' shifts.

One way of tackling the problem is to train more nurses and physician associates to take on certain medical tasks, said RCPCH workforce officer Simon Clark.

But Ms Smith said that shortages also persist in nursing.

She said: The RCN has long been aware of the decreasing numbers of healthcare staff in both acute and community childrens services.

'There are massive

There are ‘massive gaps’ in children’s nursing staffing and a significant increase in the number of undergraduate training places is required to address the problem, the RCN professional lead for children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith has said.

Ms Smith’s comments follow the publication of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) annual Rota vacancies and compliance survey of lead paeditricians.

Services are unsustainable according to 77% of respondents, with the survey finding evidence of staff shortages for doctors' shifts. 

One way of tackling the problem is to train more nurses and physician associates to take on certain medical tasks, said RCPCH workforce officer Simon Clark.

But Ms Smith said that shortages also persist in nursing.

She said: ‘The RCN has long been aware of the decreasing numbers of healthcare staff in both acute and community children’s services.

'There are massive gaps in children’s nursing and we need to greatly increase undergraduate training places.

'They form the backbone of children’s health care and depleted staffing levels could risk the safety of our children.’

The doctor shortages partly reflect the fact that three quarters of paediatricians are now women, and significant numbers take maternity leave or want to work part time, the RCPCH said.

To read the survey results, click here

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