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Readers’ panel: Will evidence of inadequate care force action on nurse shortages?

CQC report says staffing pressures are contributing to a ‘perfect storm’ for patients

A new Care Quality Commission report says staffing pressures are contributing to a ‘perfect storm’ for patients. Nursing Standard readers have their say

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The latest annual report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that its inspectors rated more than half of emergency departments in England as either inadequate or requiring improvement. The report highlighted inadequate staffing and care across health services, which particularly affects people using mental health and learning disability services.

Grant Byrne is a nursing student in Edinburgh

The RCN and countless others have spent years warning the government about the pressures facing the NHS in England. This CQC report is just the latest in a long line of documents that paint a picture of a health service increasingly struggling to cope with rising demand. But with the distraction of Brexit, do we really think the public or politicians are paying attention? If we want change, we need to be prepared to fight for it. All options, including strikes, must be considered.

Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse and PhD student in Nottingham

Healthcare services are running on goodwill and the gargantuan efforts of committed staff. Linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky said governments create the right circumstances for privatisation by intentionally underfunding services. What follows is public anger when things don’t work, and then a sell-off to private enterprise. I am not optimistic that the government sees the nurse staffing crisis as a priority – the current situation appears to fit their neoliberal agenda and I very much doubt they will act now.

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London

The Queen’s Speech on 14 October made no mention of the nurse staffing crisis, highlighting the government’s lack of concern. When ministers do mention the shortage, all they say is that they are training more nurses, as if a newly qualified nurse can replace one with years of experience. Every year we have had these warnings of shortages, yet the government has done next to nothing. With cuts to resources, increasing workloads, no real pay rise and Brexit scaring off EU nurses, they have made the situation worse. If this doesn’t make them act, what will?

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

When nurses are in short supply, they become a highly prized commodity. With more vacancies than available nurses, it really is a nurses’ market when choosing an employer. So while we wait for the government to reintroduce the bursary and train new nurses to fill the growing number of vacancies, trusts need to do more to recruit and retain nurses. NHS staff are under significant pressure to get results, meet targets and satisfy patients, all while working in understaffed and under-resourced environments. Nurses are voting with their feet. And they are walking out.

Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only


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