FSRH Position Statement on the Nursing Workforce Crisis
Nurses are essential to the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH), making up the largest component of the SRH workforce. They are facing physical, mental and emotion exhaustion post-COVID, with many feeling demoralised and burnt out by increasing workloads and chronic understaffing.
The nursing workforce is filled with highly skilled and committed individuals, with significant potential to broaden access to high quality SRH. They must be properly supported and resourced to effectively care for their patients across the four nations of the UK.
It is vital that workforce concerns are addressed to maximise the contribution of nursing expertise. FSRH believes the following changes should be implemented:
- Accountability for nurse safe staffing – Accountability for safe staffing levels must be enshrined in law in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to protect staff and patients accessing services.
- Investment in nursing workforce – Nurse’s pay must reflect the skills and expertise of this safety-critical profession, and investment in the workforce must be embedded in the NHS Workforce Plan.
- Parity for nurse’s pay, terms, and conditions – The introduction of standardised contracts in Primary Care that ensure equal pay scales and terms and conditions for nurses across all areas in SRH.
- Commissioning SRH education and development, including backfill – Commissioning in SRH must include comprehensive commissioning in education and development, including backfill for learners, that reflects demand for SRH.
- Structured career development that rewards advanced practice – There is a need to clarify standardised nurse career pathways in SRH, ensuring that skills acquisition and advanced practice is recognised and rewarded.