Defending the nursing profession

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2013 Health Care Service Group Conference
13 December 2012

Conference notes that these are unprecedented times for the nursing profession. Across the UK nursing staff have faced attacks on not only their numbers but on their caring and compassionate skills.

Depending on which newspaper you read it would appear that the nurses in general have turned into heartless unfeeling providers of care.

Of course this isn’t the case. Nurses and health care assistants have found themselves at the forefront of the largest productivity savings in the history of the NHS, already over six thousand have lost their jobs with more to come, vacancies remained unfilled, agency staff fill the gaps, waving goodbye to continuity and stability.

The Chief Nursing Officer in December 2012 laid out her plan to improve the delivery of care to patients and whilst UNISON notes its helpful narrative, it misses the point in terms of what is essentially wrong about the problems facing our members.

UNISON along with the Patients Association and Monitor have argued that stripping out these numbers and implementing further regime changes does nothing to improve morale and patient care and does plenty to damage it.

UNISON members need to be provided with the leadership skills, structured training and support to be best placed to provide the care patients need and deserve.

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

1)lobby the government to ensure that nurses receive improved funding in post-registration training, in particular to look to achieve parity with medical staff whose training budget equates to a spend of £10k every minute;

2)lobby the government to ensure that safe and proper staff-to-patient and skill mix ratios are implemented in every UK trust;

3)lobby the government to ensure that trusts are instructed to maintain training budgets that will ensure UNISON members receive the best possible training.