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Nursing bodies react to Labour election win

Nursing bodies react to Labour election win

Nursing bodies have said they will be ‘monitoring’ Labour’s delivery of manifesto commitments, while offering to ‘act as partners’ and find constructive solutions to ‘reset’ health and care going forward.

Commenting following the election result, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) focused on the work that is to come, highlighting the challenging conditions that nurses continue to face.

RCN acting general secretary and chief executive, Professor Nicola Ranger, said: ‘Outside Downing Street, Keir Starmer rightly acknowledged the insecurity felt by nursing staff – our profession was at the top of his list.

‘From day one, he must deliver a reset in relations with health and care services, the people who work in them and their professional representatives. We will act as partners in finding constructive solutions.’

‘With backing and investment from his government, nursing staff can get the health service ‘back on its feet’. At present, patients are suffering in corridors and dying alone due to dangerously high nursing shortages.’

Speaking outside Downing Street earlier today, Mr Starmer said: ‘For too long now we’ve turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity, nurses, builders, drivers, carers, people doing the right thing, working harder every day.

‘…Recognised at moments like this before, yet as soon as the camera stops rolling, their lives are ignored. I want to say very clearly to those people: not this time.

‘Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while. But I have no doubt that the work of change begins immediately.’

Professor Ranger also highlighted that today (Friday 5 July) was the NHS’ birthday and warned that ‘new impetus and investment’ are required to ‘rescue’ the Long-Term Workforce plan, including with ‘government-funded nursing degrees.’

She said: ‘Our members went to polling booths without having received a pay offer for this year and it is unreasonable to make them wait any longer. One of the first acts from the new government must be to announce an NHS pay award – fair pay is an important tool in retaining more nursing staff in services at a time of widespread vacancies.

‘In the interests of patient safety, the new government should introduce safety-critical limits on the maximum number of patients a nurse is responsible for and implement forced reporting of care in corridors,’ she said.

Also commenting on the election of a new Labour government, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said that although the QNI is an ‘apolitical organisation’, the organisation had been ‘impressed’ with Labour’s ‘focus’ and ‘support’ of the nursing profession throughout the election campaign.

She said: ‘The commitments made in the Labour party manifesto are positive for nursing and recognise that a much greater focus on the community is needed over the next five years of their administration.

‘This will lead to a strengthening of our nursing services, including investing in and building health visiting and district nursing services – and giving hope to all nurses that there is a bright future for them and the communities they serve.’

Dr Oldman said the QNI would be providing ‘evidence to support’ the growth and development of UK nursing, while also ‘monitoring the delivery on the commitments that have been made for our profession and the health of all citizens.’

‘We look forward to being able to provide the evidence to support this growth and development, while at the same time, monitoring the delivery on the commitments that have been made for our profession and the health of all citizens,’ she said.

In its 2024 election manifesto, Labour pledged to ‘shift resources to primary care’ and trial Neighbourhood Health Centres which aim to ‘bring together’ existing services including district nurses, GPs and mental health specialists.

The Labour Party has also committed to undertake ‘a programme of reform’ for social care to create a ‘National Care Service’ that will be ‘underpinned by national standards, delivering consistency of care across the country’.

Labour has also promised to ‘ensure’ the publication of ‘regular, independent workforce planning, across health and social care,’ committing to ‘deliver’ the NHS long-term workforce plan.

Saying that ‘excellent primary care is the key to earlier diagnosis’, the manifesto includes a promise to ‘reform the system’, to ‘bring back the family doctor’ by incentivising GPs to ‘see the same patient,’ to better manage ongoing and complex conditions.

Former shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting has been announced as the new health and social care secretary.

With 648 out of 650 seats declared, Labour has won 412 seats.

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