Nurses' group readies action around NHS job cuts

The Royal College of Nursing is planning a campaign to highlight how proposed job cuts at NHS trusts would be detrimental to patient care.

It will host patient focus groups over the summer as part of its ‘Keep Nurses Working – Keep Patients Safe’ campaign.

Head of policy development and implementation Howard Catton said the RCN would talk to patient groups in ‘a balanced way to avoid accusations that we are whipping up concern’.

‘Some myths need to be addressed,’ he added. ‘There are those who think we don’t support the NHS, which is wrong, and are worried that any criticism of the NHS plays into the hands of those who want to privatise it. We are not naïve, but don’t agree that the RCN should not speak out on issues about which it feels strongly.’

Keep Nurses Working was unveiled at the RCN’s conference in April, where Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt was heckled by furious nurses. Delegates were protesting at her claim that the NHS had enjoyed its ‘best year ever’.
Last week the RCN visited Westminster, where nurses told MPs of the pressures facing NHS workers and the hospitals in which they worked. The RCN will also ask health officials for quicker access to central funds, and for pilot projects to test spending reforms.

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