RCN general election nursing counts logoGeneral election manifesto

Ahead of the upcoming general election the RCN has drawn up a manifesto setting out the issues that our members across the country believe should be the health priorities for the next UK government. These measures seek to protect the nation's health, develop and support the nursing workforce and improve patient care by placing quality at the centre of all healthcare provision.

These priorities were drawn up following a thorough consultation process led by RCN council, involving boards, committees, and RCN members at all levels through consultation events, publications and via the RCN's website.

As health looks set to remain at the top of the political agenda, nurses are ideally placed to provide an invaluable link between patients and those who aspire to govern. With an average of more than 1,800 nurses and health care assistants in each constituency, there's no doubt that nursing counts.

RCN priorities

Standing up for staff who speak out

Nurses and healthcare staff need to be confident that their concerns over failures in patient care will be heard. All healthcare organisations should be required to hold a register of staff concerns that must be reported to their board regularly and made available to the public.

Safer staffing levels

To ensure nurses and other healthcare staff have the time needed to give patients the dignified care they deserve, there must be the right number and right balance of nursing staff on the wards. The RCN wants to see regular staffing reviews, which are then reported to trusts boards, to guarantee safe staffing numbers and the highest level of quality care for patients.

Give nurses the time to train

Quality patient care needs healthcare workers who are continually trained to the highest level. All too often training budgets are under pressure or staff have to learn in their own time. Improved training and regulation for healthcare assistants and support workers must be a priority. The RCN is calling for the regulation of healthcare assistants and for every nurse and healthcare worker to have protected training time as part of their continuous professional development.

Protect the nation's health

Specific resources need to be targeted at reducing health inequalities by providing public health information, tackling the root causes of ill health and promoting healthy lifestyles, with a particular focus on smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse. The RCN is calling for a single mandatory code to better regulate the drinks industry to minimise the dangers and healthcare costs associated with excessive drinking.

Improve care for those with long term conditions

Improve care for patients with long-term conditions by supporting and investing in specialist nurses. The RCN is calling for every patient with a long term condition to have guaranteed access to specialist nursing care.

Sustain healthcare investment

In order to ensure a first class healthcare system that delivers the highest level of care to patients, there needs to be sustained investment in services, staff and facilities. The RCN is calling for current levels of health care spending to be maintained in order to ensure patients continue to receive the care they deserve.

The messages will apply in different ways across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of devolution. Please see individual country pages for details:

The RCN manifesto 'Nursing Counts' (PDF 5MB) is now available to download [See: How to access PDF files]

If you have any comments or questions please email parliamentaryteam@rcn.org.uk