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Safe staffing in the NHS: nurses and patients petition prime minister Boris Johnson

Activists want to keep pressure on ministers over nurse numbers and a safe staffing law
Danielle Tiplady, patients and RCN members hold boxes containing their safe staffing petitions in Downing Street

Activists want to keep pressure on ministers over nurse numbers and a safe staffing law

Nurses joined patients to take two petitions calling for action on the nursing shortage to Downing Street today.

More than 220,000 signatures from front-line healthcare staff, patients and the public were handed in to Number 10 by RCN member and the organiser of one of the petitions, Danielle Tiplady and other RCN members.

The move comes as nursing vacancies topped a record 44,000 in England, by the RCN's calculation.

'I'll continue to hold Boris Johnson to account over nurse numbers'

Ms Tiplady's petition, which has secured more than 120,000 signatures and is still open , calls for prime minister Boris

Activists want to keep pressure on ministers over nurse numbers and a safe staffing law


The petitions about to the presented to Number 10

Nurses joined patients to take two petitions calling for action on the nursing shortage to Downing Street today.

More than 220,000 signatures from front-line healthcare staff, patients and the public were handed in to Number 10 by RCN member and the organiser of one of the petitions, Danielle Tiplady and other RCN members. 

The move comes as nursing vacancies topped a record 44,000 in England, by the RCN's calculation.

'I'll continue to hold Boris Johnson to account over nurse numbers'

Ms Tiplady's petition, which has secured more than 120,000 signatures and is still open, calls for prime minister Boris Johnson to honour his election pledge of having 50,000 more nurses in the NHS in the next five years. She told Nursing Standard she wanted to ensure the Conservatives keep their promise.

'We need registered nurses for patient safety and we need to know the government's plan as to how it will provide these nurses,’ she said.

'This isn't the end for me, this is just the beginning. I will keep collecting signatures and holding Boris Johnson to account.'

'As a patient, I have seen the pressures nurses face'

Lesley Cain, a patient who has undergone cancer treatment, helped present the petition.

Ms Cain said it was clear to her during her own care that nurses were under incredible pressure.

‘The voices of nurses and the public could not be clearer – resolving the nursing workforce shortage in England must remain the highest government priority’

Mike Adams, director, RCN England

'They simply did not have a moment to even take a break,’ she said.

'I can see the pressures and I feel it is time for government to demonstrate action before it is too late.'

Call for legal duty on ministers to ensure safe staffing

RCN director for England Mike Adams said: 'The voices of nurses and the public could not be clearer, resolving the nursing workforce shortage in England must remain the highest priority for the government.

'We need there to be a legal responsibility to ensure there are enough nurses now and for the future to give safe and effective care to all of their patients.'

The RCN petition forms part of its Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign, which calls for a safe staffing for nursing staff to be enshrined in English law. 

This includes imposing a legal duty on the secretary of state for health and social care to ensure adequate nursing staff to meet the health needs of the population.

'We are taking immediate action to reduce nurse vacancies'

The Department Health of and Social Care's position has been that hospitals are already required by law to have the right staff in the right place at the right time. A spokesperson defended its record on nurse numbers and its plans to tackle the issue.

‘We are committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses over the next five years. 

‘We’re taking immediate action to reduce vacancies including funding 5,000 more student placements a year and supporting greater international recruitment,’ the spokesperson stated.


Further information

Danielle Tiplady's petition


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