RCN congress

Unanimous vote in favour of NICE continuing safe staffing work

RCN members sent out a resounding message today that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) work on safe staffing should not have been suspended. 

Susan Woodward John Houlihan

Earlier this month, England's chief nurse Jane Cummings said work on safe staffing guidance in A&E, mental health and community settings would be taken over by NHS England as part of a wider national review into the challenges facing the NHS. 

Following a debate at the RCN congress in Bournemouth this afternoon, 99.47% of members (360 members) voted in favour of a resolution deploring the decision to halt NICE's work and calling on the college’s council to lobby for the decision to be reversed. 

RCN public health forum chair Jason Warriner, who proposed the resolution, said: ‘The RCN has long campaigned on safe staffing and we need to make sure our voice is heard.’ 

He added: ‘The government has ignored nursing and our calls for patient safety.’

Lisa Mickleburgh John Houlihan

Researcher Susan Woodward said: ‘The work of NICE should continue and through its research it should make recommendations that can be funded in the future.’

RCN students committee vice-chair Lisa Mickleburgh said: ‘Students fill the gap in staffing and this needs to stop. We need to protect our supernumerary status.’

England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings wrote to nursing directors on June 11 to say the move to end NICE's work was not about saving money, and the new approach would allow staffing for all healthcare professions to be taken into account.