Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 54 Number 14, June 15, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

RCN England Produces General Election Manifesto 2024

Invest in Nursing! Invest in Patients! Invest in Society!

The Royal College of Nursing has published a manifesto for the election, which they are calling on all parties and candidates to take up [1].

The RCN writes: "When you invest in nursing, you invest in patients, you invest in society. We're asking political parties and candidates for their passion and political will to bring our health and social care services back from the brink.

"The Royal College of Nursing is proud to represent more than half a million members across the UK. We can't stand by and accept more broken promises or inaction.

"Unprecedented strikes over the past two years have emboldened our members. We're ready to make sure our voices, and those of our patients and communities, are heard loud and clear.

"Nursing staff are rightly angry, but we have the solutions to provide the profession with the fresh start it needs. During this election campaign, we won't hold back in speaking up for our members and the people they devote their working lives to care for.

"The public values nursing staff. Patients value nursing staff. We ask you to do the same."

RCN points out that the scale of the nursing crisis is such that 25,000 people left the nursing register last year, 45% of nursing staff are planning or thinking of leaving their jobs, and 2,470 fewer people applied for a nursing degree course.

In these circumstances, the manifesto lists 12 top priorities:

1. Give all nursing staff a substantial pay rise and introduce automatic band 5 to 6 pay progression for NHS nurses.

2. Introduce safety-critical nurse-to-patient ratios in all care settings.

3. Provide legal protection for people raising concerns about unsafe staffing.

4. Fund mental health support for all nursing staff, provided by every employer.

5. Eradicate corridor care, and force reporting of it.

6. Commit to government-funded nursing degrees with a job guarantee for graduates.

7. Revoke legislation restricting the right to strike.

8. Protect the title 'nurse' in law.

9. End exploitation of health and social care workers and properly fund the sector.

10. Provide sufficient funding for continuing professional development.

11. End punitive immigration policies which affect internationally educated nursing staff.

12. Increase overseas aid spending to tackle global nursing shortages.

The RCN notes that nursing is a majority female profession and one of the most ethnically diverse professions too. That makes the injustice of nursing pay a gender and race issue, it points out. Nursing staff deserve to be equipped with a robust framework of workplace rights, one that mirrors the gravity of the responsibilities they shoulder. They should be able to enter into their place of work with their heads held high, confident in the knowledge that they will be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.

Little over a year ago, RCN members voted for historic strike action in every part of the UK and it was for more than just a pay rise, the RCN says. Their fight was for patient safety and to protest against chronic staff shortages, long working hours, unsustainable workloads and limited opportunities for career progression. However, in response, there has been a further erosion of the right of nursing staff to take part in lawful industrial action in England, Scotland and Wales.

"An empowered nursing workforce is good for patients, the very individuals whose wellbeing RCN members tirelessly advocate for every day," the RCN emphasises

For further details of what the RCN demands, see:


1. Download a PDF version of the manifesto here:

A version in Welsh is available here:

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