Nurses slam government
THE ROYAL College of Nursing (RCN) says the NHS staffing crisis is threatening "to undermine the effective delivery of healthcare". The RCN-commissioned report "Making Up the Difference" also accused the government of deceiving the public over its promise to expand the nursing workforce by 20,000 by 2004.
The RCN says the government will need to recruit 110,000 extra nurses to hit the 2004 target. In the past ten years 149,000 nurses have quit. Despite the government's pledge to turn round the health service, more than 21,000 nursing staff have left in the past year.
And the government's boast that 16,000 more nurses have been recruited since 1997 hides the fact that up to a third of that figure are only part time workers.
RCN head Christine Hancock said that "governments and employers have to reduce the reality gap, and nurses must experience a positive difference in their day to day working lives, rather than just hearing rhetoric". The RCN is calling for pay rises for nurses to bring them in line with police pay, and for subsidised mortgages and rights to parental leave. 'The election has exposed the sham of US democracy.'