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

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Miss any of the news affecting the profession during October and early November 2017? Catch up with our summary of the main nursing headlines.


Nurses involved in aftermath of terror attacks honoured at Nursing Times Awards

Nursing Times Awards 2017

Nursing Times Awards 2017

Nursing Times Awards 2017

Nurses from the hospital trusts that treated the victims of this year’s terror attacks in Manchester and London were honoured at the 2017 Nursing Times Awards.

“These nurses have shown the NHS at its very best”

Jenni Middleton

Representatives from the 11 trusts involved in caring for those caught up in the attacks received a standing ovation as they each received a Special Recognition Award for their role.

Jenni Middleton, editor of Nursing Times, said: “The Nursing Times Awards shine a light on these areas of the profession that we don’t see as much in the media.

“But sometimes, nursing is about rescue – and this year as well as our awards for the clinical specialities, teams and individuals who are pioneers in their fields, we have honoured the 11 trusts involved in providing a response to the London and Manchester terror attacks this year,” she said.

“These nurses have shown the NHS at its very best, and it is right we pay tribute to their bravery and dedication in caring for the victims of those attacks and their families,” she added.

In a glittering ceremony last month at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane, nurses and organisations from across the profession were honoured across 23 award categories.

Emma Bleasdale, from the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield, was named Nurse of the Year at our annual awards.

The Team of the Year award went to Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust for its school age immunisation service, and Janice Smyth was unveiled as the recipient of the Chief Nursing Officer’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.


 Changes to NMC language test requirements ‘come in force’

Nursing and Midwifery Council

NMC confirms new ways overseas nurses can prove English skills

From 1 November, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has expanded the range of options overseas nurses can use to prove their English language credentials are sufficient to join the UK register. Those whose first language is not English can now take one of two recognised language, instead of the previous single option. Meanwhile, nurses from outside the European Union will no longer need a test if they studied nursing in English or worked in a country where it was the main language.


Government launches consultation on giving nursing regulator ‘greater freedom’

NMC building

The Nursing and Midwifery Council could be given much greater freedom to reform its procedures without the need for legislative changes, under a new UK-wide consultation launched on Tuesday. The Department of Health is asking for views on potential reforms affecting the nine professional regulatory bodies across key topics such as “efficient regulation”, “responsive regulation”, and “protecting the public”. The consultation, welcomed by the NMC, will run until 23 January.


‘Alarming’ rise in number of nurses leaving NMC register continues

nurse stress


Nurses and midwives are continuing to leave the profession at a greater rate than they are joining, highlighting “major” staffing challenges facing the health and care sectors, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has warned as it released new figures today. Over the summer the NMC published data from March showing its register had shrunk in size for the first time in recent history – from 692,556 in 2016 down to 690,773 in March 2017.


Pay rise set to be linked to ‘productivity improvements’ in NHS staff contracts

Jeremy Hunt

Hunt hints that pay rise will be linked to staff contract changes

Jeremy Hunt appears before the Commons health select committee on 31 October 2017

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs in October that the long-running 1% cap on pay rises for NHS staff had been “scrapped”. NHS leaders subsequently warned that extra funding must be provided for future pay rises, while unions have called for salary increases to at least match inflation. Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to give his autumn budget speech on 22 November.


All trusts told to use new nurse-led checklist to ‘ensure the safety of emergency patients’

NHS Improvement

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

NHS Improvement has launched a patient safety checklist for accident and emergency departments that is designed to improve efficiency and outcomes this winter. The regulator said the tool was nursing led and developed at University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust. All trusts in England have been asked to implement the use of the Emergency Department Patient Safety Checklist this winter.


Bill against emergency worker assaults moves to next stage

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

A private members’ bill designed to strengthen the law against those convicted of assaulting emergency workers has had its second reading in the Commons. If eventually passed into law, it will double the maximum sentence for common assault from six months to a year if committed against an emergency worker while on duty. The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill was proposed by Labour MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant.


Trust chief nurse warns of more ward closures to ensure safety

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Yorkshire trust still ‘requires improvement’, says CQC

Hull Royal Infirmary

A nursing director has warned his trust that more wards may have to close due to a shortage of registered nurses. A 20-bed orthopaedic ward at Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust’s Castle Hill Hospital has already been closed to free up staff. Executive chief nurse Mike Wright told the trust’s board last month that he could not rule out more closures if the shortage continues.


New tool to ‘promote outstanding dementia care’ in NHS

mental health depressed elderly woman wheelchair

mental health depressed elderly woman wheelchair

Consultant and specialist nurses should be leading the way in dementia care, according to a tool designed to help hospitals deliver an “outstanding” service to their most vulnerable patients. There should also be enhanced training for dementia champions and link nurses, and nursing staff generally should have the “right knowledge and skills” to meet the needs of those with dementia. In addition, buy in from trust nursing leaders was key to ensuring the best possible care, stated NHS Improvement’s new dementia assessment and improvement framework.


First Admiral specialist dementia nurse appointed for Essex


A dementia nurse specialist at Basildon University Hospital has become the first Admiral nurse to be appointed in Essex. Jane Gilby has been appointed through a partnership between Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the charity Dementia UK.


CAMHS staffing changes and high workloads ‘causing care to suffer’

mental health child depressed looking out window alone bed

mental health child depressed looking out window alone bed

Young people’s mental health care in England is suffering because of regular staffing changes and practitioners often appearing too busy, children have said in a national review of mental health services. Children told the Care Quality Commission that relationships with staff were the most important part of their care experience, but there was a “common perception” that they did not have enough time to provide the quality of care they would like.


Risk that ‘insufficient’ number of learning disability nurses are being trained, warns HEE

Learning disability

Learning disability

Problems attracting people into learning disability nursing training have “come to a head” and there is now a risk there will be an insufficient number of new nurses in the field in the future, according to Health Education England. Meanwhile, Nursing Times revealed that London South Bank University had cancelled its learning disability nursing course this year, after it saw applications drop by 75%.


Chief nurse resigns after regulator returns mental health trust to ‘special measures’

Care Quality Commission

East Anglian mental health trust should be in ‘special measures’

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s nursing director has resigned, following a highly critical inspection report from the Care Quality Commission. Jane Sayer tendered her resignation after the mental health provider was placed back in special measures. Dawn Collins has been made interim director of nursing.


WHO makes appointment to new chief nursing officer post

World Health Organization

WHO makes appointment to new chief nursing officer post

Elizabeth Iro (right)

Elizabeth Iro was appointed as the World Health Organization’s new chief nursing officer in October, following a campaign to boost nurse representation among the global body’s leadership. Ms Iro, a registered nurse, is currently health secretary of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean.


Nursing students to be trained to spot signs of radicalisation

Student nurse uniform ONE USE

Student nurse uniform ONE USE

In the first initiative of its kind, nursing students at the University of Wolverhampton are to receive training to help them recognise signs of radicalisation. The university will be working with the National Counter Terrorism Unit and the NHS to deliver “prevent” training as part of the curriculum.


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

Family nurse partnership

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

The Family Nurse Partnership will be “expanded significantly” so that eligible mothers in all parts of the Scotland can access the programme “by the end of next year”, ministers have said. By the end of 2018, up to 60 additional fully trained nurses will be recruited nationwide to deliver the programme.


Sheffield nurse wins high profile charity award for work with children


Sheffield children’s nurse wins high profile charity award

Julia Nekooi her daugther Charlotte talking with Prince Harry

A staff nurse from Yorkshire has been given a high profile award supported by Prince Harry for her work with children who have been in hospital. Julia Nekooi, who works at Sheffield Children’s Foundation Trust, was named WellChild’s 2017 “nurse of the year”. She has been a nurse at the trust for many years, choosing to “stay as a bedside nurse where she loves to practice her art rather than climb the career ladder”, said the national charity for sick children.


Wreaths laid at statue commemorating executed WWI nurse

Cavell Nurses' Trust

Wreaths laid at statue commemorating executed WWI nurse

Source: Cavell Nurses’ Trust

Nurses Trish Barton and Maggie Chikontwe, from the Royal London Hospital, lay wreaths at the statue of Edith Cavell

Nurses Maggie Chikontwe and Trish Barton, from the Royal London Hospital, lay wreaths at the statue of Edith Cavell on 12 October to remember the First World War nurse who was executed for helping 200 Allied soldiers escape captivity. The event in Trafalgar Square marked the 102nd anniversary of the death of Edith Cavell who was also celebrated for treating soldiers from both sides, while working as a nurse in occupied Belgium.



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