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Nurses urge mayor of London to alleviate pressures faced by staff

The rising cost of living and short staffing were just two of the topics covered in a ‘frank discussion’ with Sadiq Khan, who promised to prioritise recruitment and retention
City Hall, London

The rising cost of living and short staffing were just two of the topics covered in a ‘frank discussion’ with Sadiq Khan, who promised to prioritise recruitment and retention

Short staffing, nurses’ well-being and patient safety were at the forefront of a ‘frank discussion’ between nursing representatives and the mayor of London this week.

RCN London representatives, alongside workforce experts and nurses, met with Sadiq Khan on Monday to raise concerns about the pressures facing the nursing workforce in London.

The cost of living formed a central part of discussions, with some members speaking of how their NHS trusts had set up food swaps to help staff who are struggling to make ends meet.

The rising cost of living and short staffing were just two of the topics covered in a ‘frank discussion’ with Sadiq Khan, who promised to prioritise recruitment and retention

The meeting took place at City Hall in London. Picture: Ian Hughes/Creative Commons

Short staffing, nurses’ well-being and patient safety were at the forefront of a ‘frank discussion’ between nursing representatives and the mayor of London this week.

RCN London representatives, alongside workforce experts and nurses, met with Sadiq Khan on Monday to raise concerns about the pressures facing the nursing workforce in London.

The cost of living formed a central part of discussions, with some members speaking of how their NHS trusts had set up food swaps to help staff who are struggling to make ends meet.

Nurses want mayor to improve funding and recruitment

Interim director for RCN London Mark Farmer said the union would continue to work with the mayor to highlight issues facing nurses and hoped his influence would have an impact on funding and workforce solutions in the capital.

‘Our members were open, honest, and had a frank discussion with the mayor about the real-life challenges they face, as well as the benefits and solutions nursing staff offer to help care for the city’s population,’ he added.

‘They told the mayor about how the cost of living crisis – especially travel costs – and short staffing levels were forcing nursing staff out of the profession at a time when they are needed most in London.’

‘Welcome’ discussion aims to achieve results

Chair of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University Alison Leary was at the meeting and had this to say about it on Twitter:

Nursing vacancies and patient safety were high on the agenda

Members also raised concerns about the impact that staff shortages were having on patient safety, and recounted what it was like to work a shift when there were not enough nurses to deliver the desired level of care.

Latest data shows there were nearly 10,000 nursing vacancies in London in December 2021, up 13% from December 2020.

Vacancy rates are expected to continue rising, partly due to nurses who put off retirement to help with the COVID-19 efforts now retiring, and partly due to stress and burnout.

Nursing and Midwifery Council data published this week shows 25,219 nurses left the register in the past year, the highest number in four years. Many cited that the pandemic had at least some, if not a strong, influence on them leaving the profession.

Mayor of London will push ‘to fill the huge number of vacancies’

While the mayor has no responsibility for delivering healthcare in London, Mr Khan said he will continue to push for recruitment and retention of staff to be a priority.

‘Nurses have played a vital and critical role in responding to the pandemic, including through caring for patients and ensuring that millions of Londoners received vaccinations,’ he said.

‘I will continue to push both the London NHS leadership and the government to prioritise recruitment and retention to fill the huge number of vacancies impacting the sector.’


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