Editorial

Send politicians a message at RCN congress

We need to decide how to deliver the best healthcare for the next generation of children and young people.

We need to decide how to deliver the best healthcare for the next generation of children and young people.

Christine_Walker

With RCN congress being held this month and a general election next there may never be a better time for the college and other unions to lobby for what matters most to nurses, and for what opinion polls tell us the public want: good quality services.

The news that there are serious shortfalls in the numbers of children’s nurses and doctors goes to the heart of the issues facing the NHS.

The doctors’ organisation, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, is warning that the shortfalls in nursing and medicine are so severe that care is at risk.

At the same time, a report by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation states that emergency department admissions for babies and young children have risen by nearly one third.

Many of these admissions, it says, could be avoided if care in the community was improved.

But what is provided in the community is being stretched. We know that, since councils in England took over public health in 2015, nurses have been fighting their own battles to protect jobs and services.

Unite’s Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association says health visitor numbers have fallen by nearly 9% since the services transferred from the NHS.

Post-Brexit uncertainty about non-UK nationals working in the service and inadequate staff planning are not the only issues facing the NHS. We also need to decide what kind of healthcare the next generation of children and young people should expect and enjoy.

Congress gives members the opportunity to send a message to politicians that, yes, nurses deserve a pay rise, but the NHS, and our children and young people’s health, are important too.

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