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RCN General Election Manifesto 2024

The RCN (Royal College of Nursing) has released its 2024 UK General Election Manifesto.

The organisation has hit upon many topics, including emphasising the inestimably important role nurses play in our lives, citing them as the most trusted profession, but stressed the many challenges faced the profession and how nurses are often undervalued and overlooked.

They also highlighted staffing issues within the industry, including the fact that 25,000 people left the nursing register last year, 45% of nursing staff are contemplating leaving their jobs, and over two thousand fewer people applied for a nursing degree course.

The RCN states that the political change required includes:

Valuing nursing staff by providing:
“A fully funded, substantial, restorative pay rise for all nursing staff and automatic band 5 to 6 pay progression for registered nurses working in the NHS on Agenda for Change contracts. The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 and Trade Union Act 2016 to be revoked, every section, without exception.”

A guarantee of safe and effective care:
“The introduction of professionally and legally enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios, with a safety-critical maximum number of patients per registered nurse in every health care setting. Legislation to protect the ‘nurse’ title in law. Legal protection for people raising concerns about unsafe staffing. Corridor care to be eradicated including mandatory public reporting of each incidence.

A commitment to introduce or maintain government-funded nursing degrees with investment in higher education and a job guarantee for all registered nurse graduates, reducing the reliance on international recruitment.

Government-level accountability for nursing workforce planning and supply in law, with ministers accountable for having enough staff to meet the health needs of the population based on transparent assessments which address inequalities.”

Better health for all:
“Greater prioritisation for the prevention of poor health through sustainable investment in health care services that reduces health inequalities. Nursing staff to be at the vanguard of solutions and interventions that promote better health outcomes in their communities. Immediate action to improve the delivery and availability of adult social care, including a nursing workforce that reflects increasing levels of complex health needs. Legislation banning all LGBT+ conversion therapy practices.”

Safe and supportive work environments:
“Action to tackle violence and abuse, including racist and other discriminatory language or behaviour, towards nursing staff. Funded mental health and wellbeing support for all nursing staff working for every health and social care employer, with access to occupational health services. Support for the delivery of race equality strategies, including specific actions for public sector bodies and services to root out bias, racism and wider discrimination for people with protected characteristics.

Health and social care employers to comply with labour standards, with rogue employers and agencies held to account for non-compliance. The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority should be granted powers to regulate the care sector.

Sufficient funding for continuing professional development (CPD) based on projections of future service and population needs. CPD should be factored into paid hours for nursing staff with funds to cover the shifts of those training.”

Be a Global Health Leader:
“An end to punitive immigration policies, which, among other things, make internationally educated nursing staff without indefinite leave to remain unable to claim most state benefits. An end to the UK’s reliance on overseas recruitment from countries with a shortage of nursing staff. The overseas aid budget to be reinstated to tackle global nursing shortages, increasing official development assistance spending to 0.7% of gross national income in line with United Nations targets. An asylum and immigration system to be established that upholds international human rights obligations and ensures access to health care.

The RCN also identified its top twelve priorities, which are as follows-

1. Give all nursing staff a substantial pay rise and introduce automatic band 5 to 6 pay progression for NHS nurses.
2. Introduce safety-critical nurse-to-patient ratios in all care settings.
3. Provide legal protection for people raising concerns about unsafe staffing.
4. Fund mental health support for all nursing staff, provided by every employer.
5. Eradicate corridor care, and force reporting of it.
6. Commit to government-funded nursing degrees with a job guarantee for graduates.
7. Revoke legislation restricting the right to strike.
8. Protect the title ‘nurse’ in law.
9. End exploitation of health and social care workers and properly fund the sector.
10. Provide sufficient funding for continuing professional development.
11. End punitive immigration policies which affect internationally educated nursing staff.
12. Increase overseas aid spending to tackle global nursing shortages.

You can read the full manifesto here –

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