RCNS to lobby executive for improved conditions

The Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCNS) has launched a lobbying campaign in a bid to address its staffing crisis.

The body criticised the Scottish Executive’s targets on Monday, claiming they were not achievable under current working conditions.

The executive decided in its 2002 charter that the Scottish NHS must recruit a further 12,000 nurses before 2007, but the RCNS said workplace conditions must improve first.

The RCNS wants a strict patient:nurse ratio to balance workloads, and plans to run its campaign until the executive’s targets are met. RCNS public affairs officer Harriet Hall said: ‘We want the executive to meet its targets to help tackle the huge shortage of nurses in the Scottish NHS but it will not meet that target unless it makes tangible changes.’

The RCNS aims to use media and direct lobbying of the Scottish Executive. ‘We will run functions for MSPs and produce publications for politicians. We are also asking patients, carers and their relatives to sign petitions,’ Hall said.

However, the Scottish Executive insisted it was on track to meet its targets.

Press officer Stuart Lewis said: ‘In the short term, increases in vacancies arise because nursing establishments are increasing, something which we welcome.

‘For some specialities and in some geographical areas there are particular pressures and we will work to address these. Posts remaining vacant for more than three months form only 1.1 per cent of [total figures].’

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