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The News Line: News RCN ALARMED AT THE UNDERSTAFFING IN NHS THE Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is ‘alarmed at the NHS England Staff Survey 2016 which shows the immense pressure they are under, particularly due to understaffing.’

The RCN said yesterday: ‘Almost half (47%) believe there is not “enough staff at their organisation for them to do their job properly”. This impacts on the number working unpaid overtime each week (59%) as they fill the gaps in staffing levels, and on their own health, with one third of staff (36.7%) feeling unwell due to work-related stress. Additionally, one in six staff (14.9%) experienced violence from patients.’

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN said: ‘On the eve of the Budget, this is another reminder for the government of how NHS staff across the board are straining to hold things together. NHS staff are its backbone and the government cannot hope to keep getting by on their goodwill.

‘The government must give the NHS the money it needs to keep patients safe and wards staffed at the right level. Ministers should offer nurses and health care assistants a pay increase that keeps pace with the cost of living, and not another real-terms cut.

‘Unless the government shows it values those working under immense pressure and taking care of patients when they are most vulnerable, people will be deterred from joining the nursing profession and others will feel no choice but to leave it.’

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said the NHS 2016 Staff Survey ‘revealed some worrying’ findings:
• 59% of staff reported working unpaid overtime each week
• 60% of staff have come into work in the last three months despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties
• 38% of staff reported that they were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied with their pay
• 20% of staff reported they were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied with opportunities to work flexibly.

Jon Skewes RCM’s Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications said: ‘While the results of this survey show there have been some small improvements, if you dig a little deeper it’s clear that fundamentally organisations are relying on the goodwill of midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff to plug the gaps in our National Health Service.

‘This is leading to high levels of stress, burnout and the growing levels of disillusionment and dissatisfaction are causing midwives to leave midwifery. At the RCM we hear from our members about the enormous pressures they’re under due to understaffing.

‘They tell us about their frustrations and fears about delivering a high quality safe maternity service with inadequate levels of staffing. England currently remains short of 3,500 midwives so cannot afford to have midwives leave the service because they are not valued.

‘The RCM recently conducted a survey of 2,719 midwives who have left midwifery in the last two years or are planning to leave in the next two years about their reasons for leaving. The most common reasons are staffing levels and workload, indicating that maternity services are in a catch-22 situation with many midwives leaving midwifery because of understaffing which further exacerbates staffing levels. Crucially, 80% of midwives said they would stay if their pay increased. Midwives and other NHS staff have faced six years of pay restraint which has had a devastating impact on their pay.’


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