Media coverage of the general election has moved up a gear in the past week or so.
The television debates have started, the national newspapers are full of manifesto analysis and the internet has hundreds of quizzes that can give you guidance on where to put your X on the ballot paper. However, while these media channels may consider the NHS, few will analyse in depth what the parties pledge to do for nursing. If you want to know how they plan to run the health service and help you care for patients and service users, and how much they think you should be paid, then look no further than right here in Nursing Times and on nursingtimes.net.
Our election coverage starts on pages 2, 6 and 7, and we will be keeping you up to date online at nursingtimes.net/election2015. In the coming weeks, as we count down to the election, we’ll consider the pledges from the main parties, and analyse what the promises mean for nursing.
The Royal College of Nursing has been encouraging nurses to vote with its campaign “Nursing Counts”, which emphasises the importance of ensuring your voice is heard. With more than 680,000 nurses on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, the profession could have a huge influence on the election’s outcome. Nurses are adept at advocating for the those in receipt of their care, but voting and ensuring their own voices are heard is an important part of that commitment to patients and service users. As a potential NHS user and a healthcare worker, you have the right to help decide how the service is run - please make sure you exercise that right.
Of course, we understand it’s confusing and frustrating. The build-up to an election always features lots of promises, and you can be forgiven for fearing many will be broken.
That’s why each week we will asking the main political parties questions that matter to you. You’ve sent us questions about pay, staffing, the inspection regime and retention of the workforce, and we’ll be putting these to the health representatives of the parties and finding out what they promise. Their responses will give you a record of what they pledge to do for nursing. That’s something we - and you - can use to hold them to account if they do end up with the keys to Number 10 on 8 May.
This week, we start with Conservative health minister Dr Dan Poulter. Turn to page 6 to find out what his party promises to do for nursing.
Jenni Middleton, editor
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed