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‘Let’s stop talking about a crisis in nurse staffing’

Care minister Helen Whately tells MPs they are in danger of ‘talking down’ the NHS with accounts of nurse shortages
Care minister Helen Whately speaking at the debate in Westminster Hall

Care minister Helen Whately tells MPs they are in danger of talking down the NHS with accounts of nurse shortages

A health minister cautioned against talk of a nursing workforce crisis and urged MPs not to talk down working in the NHS.

Care minister Helen Whately made the comments in a parliamentary debate on safe nurse staffing. Several MPs took the opportunity to highlight how a lack of nurses was affecting services, patients and healthcare workers.

The front-line of nursing is tough, but its wonderful work

'Some honourable members have talked about a "crisis" we have to be a bit careful to get the balance on language, she said.

'Yes, it is tough at the front-line for nurses but we also

Care minister Helen Whately tells MPs they are in danger of ‘talking down’ the NHS with accounts of nurse shortages


Care minister Helen Whately speaking at the nursing staffing debate in Westminster Hall  Picture: Parliament TV

A health minister cautioned against talk of a nursing workforce crisis and urged MPs not to ‘talk down’ working in the NHS.

Care minister Helen Whately made the comments in a parliamentary debate on safe nurse staffing. Several MPs took the opportunity to highlight how a lack of nurses was affecting services, patients and healthcare workers.

‘The front-line of nursing is tough, but it’s wonderful work’

'Some honourable members have talked about a "crisis"… we have to be a bit careful to get the balance on language,’ she said.

'Yes, it is tough at the front-line for nurses but we also know that, day to day, nurses and NHS staff more broadly talk about how very rewarding the work is – what a wonderful job it is.'

And Ms Whately cautioned: 'We need to make sure everybody knows that the NHS is a great place to work – let's not talk it down,’ she said.

She declined to say when the long-overdue workforce implementation plan would be published – it was promised for last September – only saying it would be 'within the next few months'.

Safe nursing staffing petitions

The debate was prompted by two safe staffing petitions of more than 220,000 signatures, delivered to the prime minister early last month by the RCN and nurse Danielle Tiplady.

Bedford Labour MP Mohammad Yasin told Westminster Hall he was disappointed by the responses of the minister.

'We are in crisis – the government need to take action now,' he said.

The debate, on March 3, was held the same day the government launched a campaign to encourage people to study nursing.


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