Record 5.45m NHS waiting list – Nurses warn of staffing crisis

Nurse marching on Downing Street for a 15% pay rise

A RECORD number of people, more than 5.45 million, are waiting for NHS hospital treatment in England.

Responding to the latest NHS England performance data, RCN England Director, Patricia Marquis, said: ‘These figures are a stark reminder of the huge pressure health and care staff are still under.

‘With a record 5.45 million people still waiting to start treatment, the frightening scale of the pandemic’s legacy cannot be underestimated.

‘Ministers talk of more investment in services to reduce these huge waiting lists, but are at the same time imposing a real-terms pay cut on the nursing staff needed to run them safely.

‘Unless the government shows it values nursing staff’s skill, experience and expertise by delivering a significant pay rise, it risks a mass exodus from the profession.’

Meanwhile, the RCN launched its consultation yesterday to find out what its NHS members in England and Wales think about the three per cent pay award for 2021-22.

The consultation comes as members take part in a ‘summer of action’ with campaign events across the UK.

Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, said: ‘With the NHS facing massive waiting lists and recovery pressures, investing in the workforce is the only way to retain the experienced nursing staff health services cannot afford to lose with such a challenge ahead.

‘I want every member to know this is your chance to speak up for patients.

‘You know what the fallout from this pay award will be where you work, and I know you will not let the government ignore the voice of your patients.’

The RCN is campaigning for a fully funded 12.5 per cent pay increase for all nursing staff, which recognises the complex mix of skill, responsibility and experience demonstrated every day by members of the profession.

The outcome of this consultation will determine what action the RCN takes including holding further ballots on moving towards industrial action.