Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Round-up of last month’s main workforce and policy news affecting UK nurses

  • Comment

Miss any of the news affecting the profession during August 2018? Catch up with our summary of the main nursing headlines.


Comms on pay deal were ‘not up to standard’, admits RCN

Royal College of Nursing

Leading nurse becomes patient safety charity patron

Source: Kate Stanworth

Dame Donna Kinnair

Janet Davies stepped down from her role of chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing at the end of last month, in the wake of anger among members over the NHS pay deal.

Dame Donna Kinnair, previously RCN director of nursing, policy and practice, has taken over in an acting capacity.

In July, the RCN commissioned an independent review into the “governance and process” that resulted in confusion among nurses over their expected pay rise.

The college said it will take an “informed decision as to the long-term executive leadership of the organisation” after it had received the full findings of the review.

Meanwhile, the RCN said an extraordinary general meeting called over its communications around the pay deal will take place on 28 September at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

In a letter to members, Dame Donna said the RCN would be publishing the findings from the review “in full” ahead of the meeting, as well as committing to implement its recommendations.

“We already know that the RCN’s processes around the pay deal and its communication were not up to the standards”

Donna Kinnair

She said: “Whatever the conclusions of the review, we already know that the RCN’s processes around the pay deal and its communication were not up to the standards that you the membership should expect.

“The review period has also allowed us to take a broader look at the college’s structures and activities,” she noted. “Whilst I know there are many things that the college does well, I think there is much that could be improved – in particular around engaging with and listening to our members,” she said. “In the next few weeks we will be announcing some substantive and lasting changes.”


Nurses and midwives in Scotland accept three-year NHS pay deal



A three-year pay deal for nurses and midwives in Scotland has been accepted. The agreement will mean NHS staff who currently earn up to £80,000 will receive a minimum cumulative uplift of 9% across 2018-19 to 2020-21. Those on higher salaries will get a flat rate increase of £1,600 a year.


Further decline in students given place on UK nursing courses

lecture students

New figures have revealed a drop in nursing student numbers. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.shows 21,030 applicants have secured a place on university nursing programmes across the UK so far this year – a 2% reduction from last year and an 8% fall from 2016.


First ever inter-professional guidance on adult safeguarding

Elderly man

Elderly man

The UK’s first safeguarding guidance has been launched to help healthcare staff more effectively protect vulnerable adults. The document, published by a range of royal colleges and professional organisations, is designed to stamp out all types of abuse, including “cuckooing” where people move in and take over another’s home, possessions and finances.


RCN issues bleak warning on learning disabilities nursing ‘crisis’


Training needed in care of patients with learning disability

Critical shortages of learning disabilities nurses could lead to more vulnerable patients being sent to Victorian style institutions away from their loved ones, the Royal College of Nursing has warned. It highlighted latest NHS Digital figures showing the number of learning disabilities nurses in England has dropped by 40% since 2010.


Petition launched to ease parking restrictions for district nurses


Parked cars

A petition has been set up calling for health workers to be given greater parking freedoms when performing care duties in the community. It said they should be exempt from parking tickets and be allowed to leave their vehicles on single and double yellow lines when treating patients at home.


Community nurses ‘under real pressure’ from chronic wound care

District community elderly blood home patient dressing wound care

District community elderly blood home patient dressing wound care

Source: Samuel Irvin

Nurses in the UK carry out 180 wound dressing changes a year on each patient with a chronic wound, a survey has indicated. Despite advancements in care, patients in the survey reported that dressings were changed on average five times a week.


Figures reveal small fall in number of NHS nurses in England

Blurred hospital corridor with three figures in it

The NHS is frequently called on to have a workforce that reflects the population it serves

Latest figures have revealed a further drop in the total number of nurses working for the NHS in England. The number of whole time equivalent nurses and health visitors, excluding practice nurses, fell by 148 from 285,745 from 285,893 between 2018 and 2017, new figures from NHS Digital show.


‘Fragile’ A&E departments hit by spate of nurse resignations

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Trust told to improve staffing and safety in maternity units

Source: John Firth

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Seven nurses have resigned in just two months from a trust’s under-pressure accident and emergency departments. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust confirmed the resignations and that one of the nurses had expressed concerns about safety in the department during an exit interview.


Tiny rise in Scotland’s nurses will ‘not tackle current vacancy levels’

Family nurse partnership

Family nurse scheme to be in place in ‘all parts’ of Scotland

The number of nurses and midwives employed in Scotland is set to rise by less than 20 full-time posts in 2018-19, which is nowhere near enough to address widespread shortages, warn unions.


‘Almost half’ of maternity units closed doors at least once last year

Labour Party

Nearly half of maternity units closed temporarily during 2016

Source: JamesAlan1986

Nearly half of England’s maternity units closed temporarily to new mothers at some point in 2017, which was more than the previous year, according figures published by the Labour Party. The most commonly cited reason for the closures was capacity and staffing issues, said the party.


Staff praised for ‘professionalism’ after midwife murder

samantha eastwood

samantha eastwood

Samantha Eastwood

Grieving midwives at a hospital in Stoke-on-Trent have been commended as “absolutely remarkable” for staying strong for families under their care, following the tragic death of a colleague. Midwifery leaders at Royal Stoke University Hospital have highlighted the “professionalism” of their team in the weeks after the loss of midwife Samantha Eastwood.


Exclusive: Dementia nursing not a ‘backwater’, insists charity

paul edwards with logo

Paul Edwards Dementia UK

Source: Dementia UK

Paul Edwards

A charity leader has said more needs to be done to promote dementia care as a valuable career for nurses, as figures reveal the number of people diagnosed with the condition has risen by 6% in three years. Paul Edwards, clinical director at Dementia UK, described recruitment as one of the key challenges facing the charity’s Admiral nurse programme.


Essex prison nurses carried out CPR on ‘clearly dead’ inmate



A prison has been told to issue clear guidance to staff after two nurses carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation on an inmate who was “clearly dead”. Despite “obvious signs of death”, they carried out CPR on Ashley Ansell-Austin who hanged himself at HMP Chelmsford in October last year.


Student nurses in Devon pioneer taking over running of ward

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Plymouth student takeover CLIPP

Students on Hartor ward

Student nurses successfully took over the running of a ward in July at University Hospitals Plymouth Trust, as part of a new education model called Collaborative Learning in Practice Placements.


Care home appeal inundated with postcards from around world

Cedar Court Dementia Care

Postcard displays at Cedar Court

Source: Your Health Limited

Postcards at Cedar Court

A global postcard appeal has helped care home residents with dementia to recall holidays they went on as children. Since July, Cedar Court Care Home in Derbyshire has received around 1,000 cards total. Pictured with some of them is activities co-ordinator Gayle Kruczek-Stephenson.


Nurse who killed himself after sacking was ‘treated unfairly’

amin abdullah

amin abdullah

Amin Abdullah

The boss of Imperial College Healthcare Trust has apologised after an investigation found a nurse who took his own life after being sacked was treated unfairly. Amin Abdullah died in 2016 after setting himself on fire just days before he was due to attend a hearing to appeal his dismissal.


Nursing needs gender-neutral rebranding, say researchers

NHS Improvement

Nurses told to use A&E checklist to ‘ensure safety over winter’

Nursing needs to undergo a gender-neutral “rebranding” to break down barriers stopping men entering the profession, researchers have urged after it emerged less than 10% of student nurses in Scotland were male.


Nursing Times inducted into nurses’ journal ‘hall of fame’

International Academy of Nursing Editors

Nursing Times inducted into journal ‘hall of fame’ for profession

The award given by INANE

Nursing Times was among the first 13 journals inducted into the Nursing Journal Hall of Fame last month. It was created by the International Academy of Nursing Editors for publications that have made significant contributions to the profession’s “knowledge”.


Hospital launches course to teach nurses how to read ECGs



Source: London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr Harmander Singh and Gary LaTouche

A first-of-its-kind course teaching nurses how to read an electrocardiogram has been launched by London North West University Healthcare Trust to address a “skills gap” and potentially save lives.

Hospital launches course to teach nurses how to read ECGs


  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.