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Round-up of December 2018’s main workforce and policy news affecting UK nurses

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


Neonatal nurse boost revealed as part of maternity shake-up

Using a maternity EMR system, all entries carry a record of who made it and when, thus increasing accountability and safety

Using a maternity EMR system, all entries carry a record of who made it and when, thus increasing accountability and safety

A package of maternity measures and more money for children’s hospice care are among the measures to be included in the new long term plan for the NHS in England, health service leaders revealed last month.

The document, which was originally scheduled for release by NHS England in December, is now not expected to be published early this year – possibly before the end of this month. The blueprint will set out how the £20.5bn annual budget increase promised by prime minister Theresa May will be spent.

Over the festive period, the government announced that a maternity shake-up will form part of the long term plan. Ministers promised a major redesign of neonatal services, led by an expansion in staff numbers including more specialist nurses.

In addition, child health records – the “red book” – will be digitised and digital maternity records for 100,000 women will be piloted by the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, NHS England said that national funding for children’s hospices is to rise by as much as £25m a year. However, the total annual increase would be dependent on local commissioning bodies agreeing to match the rise in funding on offer from NHS England.

Other policies set to be in the plan have previously been revealed as well, including supporting earlier diagnosis of cancer, new mental health crisis services, and providing early intervention for people with a learning disability or autism.

The plan is also set to include a workforce chapter setting out proposals for securing enough staff now and into the future.


CNO and leading nurses recognised in new year’s honours list



MBE medal

New year honours have been awarded to nearly 30 members of the nursing and midwifery profession for 2019, including the outgoing chief nursing officer for England Professor Jane Cummings, a leading voice in community nursing, Dr David Foster, and Sue Smith, a senior nurse credited with helping turn around her trust in the wake of a high-profile maternity scandal.


London nurses fulfil terminally ill patient’s wish to go to seaside

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

Laza and Joan Kekic

Laza and Joan Kekic on Brighton seafront

A nursing team in London has done the “out of the ordinary” by helping a terminally ill patient to fulfil a final wish of going to the stay at the seaside with his family. Thanks to the Northwick Park Hospital’s intensive care team, Laza Kekic spent the day in Brighton with his wife Joan – a place where the couple shared many happy memories.


Call for rethink on supernumerary status for nurse apprentices

A good mentor-student relationship  has multiple benefits for the care system

A good mentor-student relationship has multiple benefits for the care system

The vision of nursing degree apprenticeships as a realistic and sustainable route into the nursing profession is just a “mirage”, according to MPs who say there are currently “too many obstacles” in the way of making them work. A report by the education committee warns that the uptake of nursing degree apprenticeships has been far too slow with no more than 30 people starting training through the scheme last year.


Interview: Mental health nurse overcame alcoholism to re-join register


A mental health nurse who overcame alcoholism and successfully regained his registration has called for more support for other nurses battling addiction. Former specialist mental health unit manager Kenny Brady was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2012 for misconduct linked to his drinking problem.


NHS will still be short of nurses in five years, warns regulator chief

doctors and nurses a&e

doctors and nurses a&e

The chief executive of a national regulator has warned that it will be more than five years before the number of nurses the NHS needs becomes available to the service. Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS Improvement, gave the warning to senior health service leaders at an NHS Providers meeting.


‘Huge’ drop in EU nurses coming to London since Brexit vote

London map

London map

There has been a “huge” 42% drop in European Union nurses coming to work in London’s NHS since the year of the referendum result, according to analysis by the Royal College of Nursing. Between July 2016 and July 2018, the number of joiners from Europe reduced from 1,622 to 939.


CQC calls for a ‘change in safety culture’ to reduce NHS harm

NHS Improvement

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

Lack of training, staff shortages and the complexity of the system are all contributing to unnecessary harm to patients, despite the best efforts of nurses, according to a major review by the Care Quality Commission. It has called for a change in culture within the NHS to reduce the number of patients who experience avoidable harm.


RCN issues statement in support of decriminalising termination

Cavendish Square

Royal College of Nursing

Royal College of Nursing

The Royal College of Nursing has said it officially supports the decriminalisation of abortion, after its members signalled the move last year. It has published a position statement supporting the principle of decriminalisation of termination of pregnancy legislation and the removing of criminal sanctions.


Mental health nurse appointed new chief exec of Dorset trust

Dorset HealthCare University Foundation NHS Trust

Eugine Yafele

Eugine Yafele

A registered mental health nurse has been appointed as the next chief executive of Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust. Eugine Yafele, currently the trust’s deputy chief executive, will take on the new role early this year.


Nurses urged to take bus in wake of parking permit squeeze 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Colchester bus

Source: Chris Sampson

Nurses at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust who have had work parking permits taken away due to lack of space are being urged to take the bus instead. Around 1,000 staff are being offered a free park-and-ride service for three months, after which they will need to pay £1.50 a day.


Home care agency in ‘special measures’ over safety concerns

Croydon skyline

Croydon skyline

Source: Kevan

A home care provider in South London has been given the worst possible rating by the Care Quality Commission and placed in special measures, after inspectors found a “totally unacceptable” catalogue of safety breaches. Medacs Healthcare – Croydon was rated as “inadequate” by the CQC.


‘Google Doodle’ dedicated to renowned war nurse Edith Cavell

edith cavell google

edith cavell google

Google Doodle dedicated to Edith Cavell

Inspirational First World War nurse Edith Cavell was commemorated by Google on 4 December. The firm used her image on its search engine home page for its latest “Google Doodle” to mark what would have been her 153rd birthday.


Boost for Scottish health visitors as job bumped to band 7

health visitor

health visitor

The “crucial role” of health visitors in Scotland has been recognised with an 18% increase to their starting salary. Health visitors in the country will now begin as a band 7 on the Agenda for Change scale with a minimum pay of £33,222 progressing up to £43,471.


Fax machines banned from NHS as digital revolution picks up pace

Fax machine

Fax machine

Matt Hancock has banned the NHS from buying fax machines as part of his digital revolution of the health service. The health and social care secretary’s “axe the fax” campaign started this month, with the aim of phasing the machines out completely by 31 March 2020.


Former CNO appointed chair of Florence Nightingale Foundation

florence nightingale

florence nightingale

A former chief nursing officer for three countries in the UK has been appointed as chair of the Florence Nightingale Foundation. Dame Yvonne Moores is taking over from Bryan Sanderson.


NHS pilots ‘inspirational’ fast-track route into GP nursing

primary care nurse

primary care nurse

A first-of-its-kind training programme that will prepare registered nurses, including newly qualifieds, for a career in primary care in just nine months is being trialed by the NHS. The work-based education package is due to be piloted in three areas in the Midlands and East region of England.


Study will look at role of gender in female-dominated nursing

Nurse gender and race

Nurse gender and race

A study on gender and pay in nursing hopes to shed light on the value and status of one of the most female-dominated professions in the UK. The research, which is being undertaken by Oxford Brookes University, has been commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing with a report due out in April.


Ruth May revealed as new chief nursing officer for England

NHS Improvement

Nurse staffing shortage is ‘top priority’ for regulator

Source: Kate Stanworth

Ruth May

Ruth May will take over from Jane Cummings as England’s next chief nursing officer, it has been announced. She will take up the post as part of a new joint leadership team between NHS England and the regulator NHS Improvement, called the NHS Executive Group.


New campaign launched to help nurses in England fulfil their potential

nursing now england jane cummings

nursing now england jane cummings

Launch of Nursing Now England

Efforts to raise the profile of nurses in England are being ramped up with a new rebranded campaign. Nursing Now England was officially launched in December and will combine the work of chief nursing officer’s Perceptions of Nursing scheme and the global Nursing Now movement.


New nurse and paramedic mental health team set to cut admissions



Emergency mental health hospital admissions in London are expected to be cut in half by a new ambulance scheme involving nurses and paramedics working side-by-side. The initiative will see people experiencing a mental health crisis sent both a specialist nurse and a paramedic. Once rolled out, it is expected to reduce mental health admissions by 48% from 58,000 to 30,000 per year.


Leader of nursing research charity to step down next year

theresa shaw

theresa shaw

Theresa Shaw

The long-standing chief executive of the charity the Foundation of Nursing Studies has announced her departure from the charity, which promotes and supports research by nurses. Dr Theresa Shaw is to step down in Spring 2019, having been its chief executive for the last 15 years.


Oxford trust latest to put up cash to keep EU nurses after Brexit

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Nurse pleads guilty to sexually assaulting unconscious patients

John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust has become the latest NHS provider to offer to pay the “settled status” application fees for any EU nursing staff who want to stay in the UK after Brexit.


Nurses urged to keep noise down in new sleep campaign

sleep helps healing launch

sleep helps healing launch

Allerton Ward staff at the Friarage Hospital support the Sleep Helps Healing campaign

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new campaign to help reduce noise levels on its wards at night. The Sleep Helps Healing campaign urges both staff and patients to dim the lights and keep noise to a minimum between the hours of 11pm and 6am.









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