THERE is no doubt that the last few months have presented unprecedented challenges for health services and nursing staff across the NHS, primary care, independent sector and community services. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty to care not only for their patients, but also families affected by COVID-19 and their colleagues working in incredibly difficult conditions. As the Essex branch chair and board chair of the Royal College of Nursing in the Eastern region we want to express our thanks to all nursing staff who continue to give everything they have to face down this pandemic.
The country is now moving into a new phase in how it responds to COVID-19. But in moving forward, nursing staff cannot be left behind. Full and proper risk assessments must be carried out to protect staff, particularly members of the BAME community who face higher risks. The mental health and wellbeing of our nursing workforce must also be looked after, and when staff raise concerns on issues such as PPE they must be listened to. And we must recognise the service of student nurses and support them as they complete their studies.
As we reflect on the past, we must also look to the future and how the nursing workforce is properly value and rewarded. The Government must state that the contribution and value of all staff will be reflected in future discussions about pay. Our members, their families and the public in general will expect and accept no less.
RCN Essex branch chair
RCN Eastern board chair
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