QNI General Election Statement
26 May 2017
The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) is a national charity that campaigns for high-quality nursing in the home to be available to everyone, where and when they need it, for the benefit of patients, families and carers.
We want to see community health and social care as a priority for the next government, with policies that reverse the decline in community nursing provision and which ensure access to skilled nurses for people at the beginning and end of life and when suffering from ill health.
We believe that the expansion of community nursing is essential for a sustainable health and social care system.
Current and Future Challenges
The National Health Service (NHS) and other organisations working in health and care provision are facing unprecedented challenges. However, we believe there is a general consensus about what is required from health and care services, including:
- Services that are designed with patients, their families and carers at the core, with more services delivered in the community and home, which in turn greatly reduces the pressures facing over-stretched hospital services.
- Services that are able to adapt to and accommodate demographic change, including meeting the needs of an ageing population living with complex long term conditions.
- Closer partnership working of health, social care and voluntary services in the provision of seamless care, the promotion of wellbeing and the prevention of ill health.
- A system that embraces new ways of working and reduces health inequalities to ensure that socio-economic, geographical and biological factors do not impact upon an individual’s health, access to services or quality of life.
- Services that actively promote public health and wellbeing, whilst supporting an asset based approach to community development and embracing social prescribing.
- Healthcare services that support and utilise new technology, engage with patients in innovative ways and provide an opportunity for the development of innovative responses to needs.
The UK faces a serious shortfall in the nursing workforce. We are deeply concerned about this unfolding crisis and stress the need for centralised planning and responsibility to ensure the health and care services can meet patient need, both now and in the long-term.
With declining numbers of registered nurses and the potential implications of Brexit on EU staff, we are very apprehensive about the impact this will have on patients, families, carers and communities – and the provision of high-quality care. We call for a planned and considered investment in staff to support the retention and recruitment of a highly skilled workforce.
Health and social care employees should receive a salary that is both competitive and attractive. This should rise in line with inflation and be comparable to average UK salaries of professionals working at a similar level.
Those who possess the right qualities and aspire to have a career in nursing should not be hindered by a lack of means. We therefore call on the government to ensure education for pre-registered nurses is accessible and attractive, with sources of funding, including bursaries, available for talented individuals would otherwise be unable to enter the profession. Likewise, funding support for nursing education should continue post-registration.
We specifically advocate a guaranteed investment in the development of appropriate and future-proofed specialist qualifications, such as those leading teams and services in community services.
The above is only possible with adequate financial means. We therefore call on the future government to provide appropriate funding to the NHS, at a level that rises in line with GDP and is comparable to similar economies. At the same time, similar levels of investment should be provided to social care with support for a more integrated care system that meet the needs of patients, families, carers and communities in a coordinated and efficient way.
Morale of many employees in the NHS is low, which we believe is unacceptable in a compassionate system and above all, is not in the interests of patients. The new government has a unique opportunity to ensure the NHS remains one of the best health services in the world.
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