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Confusion over Tory job guarantee for nurses


The Conservatives have suggested that every newly qualified nurse could be guaranteed a year’s employment if their party is elected this week.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley told the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress last week it was “outrageous” that some student nurses were unable to find work after qualifying.

He said it was “a waste of great talent and a waste of public resources” and that was why he wanted “every nurse entering the profession coming out of nursing education to have a one year preceptorship in order to establish themselves in the profession”.

His remarks led to speculation over whether he was saying the NHS should employ every newly qualified nurse or merely supporting existing plans for universal preceptorships.

When Nursing Times asked the Conservatives if Mr Lansley wanted nurses’ first year of employment to be guaranteed, a spokesman responded: “Yes, we want to look into how we can make sure nurses are guaranteed a year of work after they qualify.”

The spokesman said the idea was “floated” in the party’s nursing consultation. However, that document refers only to preceptorships.

Mr Lansley’s comments have sparked concern that trusts could be forced to employ nurses signed off as competent by another organisation, whether they agree with that assessment or not.

King’s College London national nursing research unit director Peter Griffiths said it would be “very challenging” to force trusts to employ newly qualified nurses who may have been signed off by other organisations.

Last week Nursing Times revealed huge problems with student assessment, with more than a third of nurse mentors admitting they had passed students despite having concern about their abilities.

A Council of Deans of Health spokeswoman said the Conservatives’ nursing consultation had revealed “confusion” about preceptorships. She added that specifying a particular length of time for such schemes was “unhelpful”, as people’s rates of learning are different.

“It is important to ensure that preceptorship is not locked in to any regulation or revalidation requirements,” she said.

“If preceptorship is to be made mandatory, this should not be in response to the incorrect assumption that new registrants are not competent and should not be in any way tied in to the move to all-graduate nursing, implying graduates are not fit for purpose.”


Readers' comments (24)

  • I urge all nurses do not vote Tory. For those of you old enough, with long memories, to remember the 18 years of cut backs under the Thatcher and Major leaderships. It would be a dangerous and slippery slope for the NHS to oblivion! You think your jobs are unsafe now? You think your resources are minimal now? Just wait for Cameron and his cronies get in.

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  • i remember what the tories did to the NHS thats why it is in a state now. staffing levels omg will be bad, money will be reduced in training, nurses pay will not rise. Also there will be a north & south , and privatisation he we come. Poor areas will see a two-tier system nurses think they got it bad now wait till the Tories get in. Yes i do remember what it was like nurses who have just qualified there will be a hard road for you. less nurses more support workers not that i am knocking support workers they do a fab job NHS could not manage without them. But nurses are accountable and there are nursing jobs to do on a busy ward that support workers cant do. so nurses and support workers will be so stressed out, i can just see it happening. Tories look after their own poor to stay poor and the rich to get richer.Also there will be a south and north divide, and privatisation he we come. And finally what will happen to our pensions which we have worked hard for i can see them touching that too. we are an easy to target for the tories.

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  • Anonymous above, 5-May-2010 8:26 am, if you were intelligent enough to actually look at the policies of the current parties you might realise that Thatcher isn't actually a part of ANY of them!!!!

    You cannot judge a party on the past! I am sick and tired of the attitude of 'I will never vote tory because I remember thatcher' or 'I've always voted Labour so I always will regardless!'

    This clueless, short sighted attitude is pathetic and ridiculous!

    You have to use a bit of intelligence and LOOK AT THE POLICIES OF ALL THE CURRENT PARTIES, and base your decision on that!

    If you want to talk about the current party in power, which is the only party where it is logical to judge them on performance, how about the money wasted on middle management, trust directors and non job idiots, how about the rapid and sneaky privatisation of the NHS, how about the cutting of beds in the new polyclinics, how about the fact that there are thousands of newly qualified nurses who cannot get a job because the trusts will not hire them, despite the fact that all wards are chronically understaffed, how about the pay cut nurses have been forced to take?

    For gods sake! I'm starting to think there should be an IQ test before you are allowed a vote!

    If this suggestion is genuine, then I think it is a fantastic thing. It took me months after graduating to find a job, (and only 20 something of us were hired out of over 450 who attended the trust wide exams/interviews) and I know many trained Nurses personally who aren't working as a Nurse but have been forced to take jobs in Tesco's or other non jobs just to survive! How is that not an absolutely insane situatiuon?

    I would argue this alone would make me vote Conservative if I was a student Nurse again.

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  • Nurses Vote Vote Vote each and every one of you keep tories out please if we want to save our NHS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • well i remember when Tories were in when i qualified and there was no nursing jobs then. I remember when a year later i got six months contract no holiday pay no sickness pay i remember and i will always remember that i could not feed my family, my husband a miner on strike we got no money to feed my babies yes i rememeber when hospitals became Trusts and there was no money in the pot to pay the nurses so sorry if i have upset you but i will always remember the dark days of the Tories and i will never change my mind.

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  • good comment from the person saying about the nurses having to work in tescos. I do not like how the nhs has become with too many managers and IT consultants- not enough frontline staff. I want the tories to get rid of that.

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  • I also qualified under Tory rule and was told we need the nurses but have no money to pay you. Out of a class of 32, 3 nurses were offered posts in our training hospital, the rest of us went far and wide I come from the north west and my first job was in London.During my time as a student we were paid and I was helping my family as my dad spent 2 years out of work and mum only part time, it was a case of helping were you could including throwing money into the miners buckets. I don't need an IQ test to vote some pains don't go away and some parties don't change. I have been involved in student nurse placements and I am responsible for hiring staff , some nurses should only be working in Tescos as they do not have clinical skills or initiative to work as accountable practitonersand that is also a painful fact.

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  • Thank god people remember the tories of the thatcher years and the devastation they wrought to everyone except the rich. It scares the hooey out of me to think they might get in again and wreck people's lives and so needlessly. David Cameron seems to have missed the irony of his 'big society' and his policies that will knacker it.
    to the poster who thinks the tories are no longer thatcherite you are severely mistaken. The tory philosophy of survival of the fittest is outmoded, unkind, uncompassionate and borne of fear and mistaken understanding. It has no place particularly in a healthcare service.

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  • I dont get why nursing graduates are not guranteed a job for so so no. of years like the medical students are. I know we are not important as but we are still important, even 1/2 year experience in an area we like would be good.

    regarding whos gonna win, well, before parties win they ALWAYS say that they will do this and that to increase their votes but afterwards, they do nothing but talk grabage. I wish we had Obama no. 2 here. Britiain is truelly falling apart!

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  • I cannot believe some of the comments here.

    Even now newly qualified Nurses CANNOT find jobs, and some trusts are even asking for voluntary redundancies without replacing the posts, there are countless problems with our profession and the NHS, and yet some imbeciles are STILL blaming the tories?


    I will give you one example, Anonymous | 5-May-2010 6:12 pm argues that under Tory rule, she was told we need the nurses but have no money to pay you. Out of a class of 32, 3 nurses were offered posts in our training hospital, the rest of us went far and wide I come from the north west and my first job was in London

    Well when I qualified, UNDER LABOUR RULE, over 400 people were invited to trust wide interviews, they hired 23. Over half of those STILL had to wait until posts opened up!!!

    And you think it was better under Conservative rule?

    Are you insane?

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