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More cash needed to bring NHS back from the brink, warn nurses

MORE funding is needed to “pull the NHS back from the brink,” the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned.

The world’s largest health union, representing 465,000 nurses, midwives and other health professionals across Britain, said that the country is facing “disaster for the health and care services this winter” unless Chancellor Rishi Sunak allocates more funds in his Budget this week.

Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be “impossible without further investment to tackle the nursing workforce crisis,” the RCN warned.

The NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 40,000 nurses.

Real-terms pay cuts, exhaustingly long hours and a shortage of resources have led to nursing vacancies increasing while millions of pounds are paid to profiteering private employment agencies to plug the gaps.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “Nursing staff are furious at the way the government has tried to downplay the critical situation our health and care services are already in.

“The Chancellor has a chance this week to repair some of the damage by announcing both long and short-term investment in his Budget. It’s up to the government to do the right thing.”

RCN council chairwoman Carol Popplestone warned: “Nursing is a safety-critical profession and, with tens of thousands of vacancies, there simply isn’t the workforce to ensure people can deliver safe care for patients.

“The pressure services are under is already unsustainable and heading in one clear direction.

“The Chancellor has a chance to lead and pull both patients and professionals back from the brink of disaster.”

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