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Emergency care criticised by nursing leaders


18 June 2014

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Nursing leaders have criticised the “sorry state” of emergency care, calling for better workforce planning and education for nurses. 
Figures released by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show that up to 18% of full time registered nursing posts are not permanently being filled. 
And with half of the vacancies being filled by temporary nursing staff, this leaves an 8.5% gap between the number of funded posts and the number of nurses in place. 

Nursing leaders have criticised the “sorry state” of emergency care, calling for better workforce planning and education for nurses. 
Figures released by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show that up to 18% of full time registered nursing posts are not permanently being filled. 
And with half of the vacancies being filled by temporary nursing staff, this leaves an 8.5% gap between the number of funded posts and the number of nurses in place. 
The union claims that inadequate staffing risks undermining the quality of care received by patients. 
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Emergency care is a unique part of the NHS because A&E departments have no control over the number of patients they have to care for. Patients need to be looked after regardless of the number of people who show up or the number of beds available.
“This is a highly pressurised and difficult environment for nursing staff to work in. Too often, A&E departments are being left in a sorry state without enough staff and without enough specialist skills. Our members in emergency nursing are frustrated that this can undermine their efforts to provide the highest possible standards of care for their patients. 
“Emergency nursing is a challenging role requiring a number of qualities and skills. Improving A&E workforce planning and education commissioning is crucial so that departments have enough nursing staff with the right mix of skills, including more nurses with specialist qualifications in emergency care.”

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