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MP warns of pressures faced by London nursing staff

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Staff shortages and the pressures being faced by nurses in London were highlighted in parliament this month.

During a debate on healthcare in London, Labour MP for Westminster North Karen Buck warned that the NHS in the capital was “under extraordinary pressure”.

Ms Buck highlighted that nursing staff vacancy rates were a “particular concern” in London.  

Quoting figures from the Royal College of Nursing, she said: “Regionally, 11% of nursing posts are vacant, compared with a national average of 6%. At some London trusts, the rate is more than 20%. The regional total represents more than 6,000 vacant nursing posts in London.”

Recounting her own experiences of coming into contact with the healthcare system over the Christmas period, she said: “I was also shocked to discover when talking to healthcare assistants that they sometimes work an 11-hour day for a £90 day rate, which is not the London living wage—it is the minimum wage.

Karen Buck

Karen Buck

“How can we expect people to provide the intensity and quality of care that we want when we do not pay them even the living wage? That causes me great concern,” she said.

However, she added that “most health care professionals and auxiliaries are doing a stunningly good job for the people of London and the rest of England”.

“There is kindness and the effective delivery of health care everywhere we look in our health service. We must be careful not to succumb to the tendency to talk down the health service’s achievements,” she told MPs.


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