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Your 5 minute news summary...

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The EU referendum has been front and centre of political debate this week ahead of the vote on 23 June

Nursing Times’ exclusive poll revealed it was close but the vote “leave” campaign was slightly ahead of vote “remain”. Our survey showed 43% were in favour of a Brexit, 41% wanted to stay in the EU, but 15% were still yet to decide. We also explored the main issues potentially resulting from both outcomes in our analysis.

The axing of the Department of Health’s nursing and midwifery advisory unit as part of cost-cutting measures has been strongly criticised by nurse leaders who described the decision as “foolhardy”. It was claimed the move, revealed in Nursing Times last week, showed the DH “was not interested in the voice of nursing” and would mean the loss of impartial advice in drawing up future policies.

Safe nurse staffing guidance on adult general wards and maternity services will be revisited by the new regulator NHS Improvement, leading to accusations of the “undermining” of guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence before its workforce programme was controversially halted. The revelation comes after the CNO for England said last year that new work on staffing would “not involve going back on the guidance already published”.

Separate reviews out this week concerning paediatric and maternity services at two trusts have revealed problems including staff shortages and bullying.

The independent review of paediatric services at Walsall Healthcare Trust by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found the hospital’s neonatal unit did not have enough nurses or doctors to meet national guidelines and should not have been operating.

Meanwhile, an independent review ordered by commissioners and County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust found the care of mothers and babies at the trust was being put at risk due to bullying and a blame culture in its maternity unit.

Finally, the exemplary work of nurses has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours. More than 20 received awards, including two CBEs – for the director of the Institute of Health Visiting, and a professor of women’s health at King’s College London.

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