The Royal College of Nursing has called for an urgent review of the commissioning of training places for nurses in London as part of wider efforts to improve care in the capital.
The RCN also said it was vital nurses were at the heart of designing public health services in its response to a call for evidence from the London Health Commission.
The independent commission was set up by the Mayor of London to come up with innovative ways to address London’s healthcare needs.
Chair Lord Ara Darzi has already begun work in key areas including exploring ways to improve the quality and integration of care and reduce health inequalities.
“Nursing’s presence at almost every stage and setting of care means that nurses are engaged across a whole spectrum of public health interventions,” said RCN London regional director Bernell Bussue.
“In order to drive up standards and address inequalities it is essential that nursing staff are involved in the planning and implementation of future public health services.”
The RCN’s submission stresses one of the biggest challenges facing nursing London is a shortage of suitably trained nurses with vacancy rates running at 11% across the capital.
“There are obvious knock-on effects for the ability of London nurses to continue to provide high quality care,” says the document, which says nurses are doing more unpaid overtime and reporting higher levels of work-related stress.
Moves to integrate care will mean increased demand for community and specialist nurses.
“There is an urgent need to review the commissioning of training places for nurses in London to ensure a future workforce of the size necessary for the increasing scale and complexity of patient demand,” says the paper.
It says other issues getting in the way of more integrated care include “complex and burdensome bureaucracy”, slow decisions around funding and a lack of resources in the community resulting in the “revolving door” syndrome where patients that have been discharged are bounced back to acute care.
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