No one could not have notice that there is a general election on the 8th June. Not many of us saw this election coming, and it can be argued that many of us don’t even want this election, but it is happening. 23.59, on 22 May is the last day we can register to vote (1), but we can register on line here.
Already Brexit is already dominating the media coverage of this election but an election should never be about one subject. An election should be about the whole of a Government’s policies and how they have behaved in government. This government’s record on the NHS has been anything but high quality.
We have just come out of another winter crisis, the third winter crisis the NHS has suffered in a row (2), even though the past three winters have all been mild, without any long cold spells (3, 4. 5). And this is only one of the many problems facing the NHS.
As nurses we have a voice and we need to make our voices heard in this election. We must stop the agenda just being about Brexit and what the politicians want us to hear. Health unions have already called for this election to be about the state of the NHS (6), unions including the RCN, BMA, Unite, UNISON and the Royal College of Midwives. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has already launched its “Nursing Counts” campaign (7), to ensure healthcare priorities are at the heart of all the political parties’ manifestos.
But what can we do as individuals? In reality we don’t elect a Prime Minister at an election, we don’t vote for a specific political leader, what we do is elect our local MP, who then has the responsibility of representing us in parliament. Therefore shouldn’t we ensure that the candidate we vote for has our best interest at heart?
At the last election I emailed all my local candidates asking them how they would support the NHS, their responses were certainly a mixed bag and often not what I wanted to hear (You can read my blogs about it all here, here, here and here). But this hasn’t deterred me. At this election I am going to do exactly the same. This time I will also blog about it and the experience, we need to engage with candidates or how else will they know our concerns. At the end of this blog I’ve pasted the email I’ve sent to my local candidates, complete with reference links. Feel free to use any or all of it if you want to email your local candidates too (Details of your local candidates can be found here).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every nurse in the country emailed their local candidates and quizzed them on how they were going to support the NHS? Those candidates wouldn’t be able to ignore the problems facing us and the NHS. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone who reads this blog emails their local candidates? We need to make our voices heard, we need the candidates to listen to our concerns, otherwise the media will make all the running and all we will hear about is Brexit. Nursing and the NHS deserves better.
Why Should I Vote For You? email
I live in the ______ constituency and I intend voting at this coming election, but my vote is very precious to me, I only get one vote, and I want to make my vote count. As a candidate, you want to represent me in parliament, I want to know that you will support my concerns and worries if you were elected.
I am a nurse, working in the NHS, and I am very worried about the state of nursing today. Nursing is under threat from the following factors:
- Last year there were 23,443 empty nursing posts in the NHS, 9% of the nursing workforce (a1).
- 93% of NHS Trusts reported shortages of registered nurses and 78 per cent reported difficulty in finding nurses for hard-to-fill nursing vacancies (jobs vacant for three months and longer) (a2).
- Last year 5% of nurses did not renew their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) membership (a3), they effectively left nursing because you cannot practice as a Registered Nurse unless you are registered with the NMC.
- There also has been a 92% fall in EU nurses coming to work here since the Brexit Referendum (a4).
- · Since 2009 there has been a 28% fall in District Nurses numbers and the Community Nurse workforce has shrunk by 8%, putting a huge strain on this important service (a5).
- · Since 2010, there has been a 15% fall in the number of student nurse training places (a6).
- This year saw a 23% fall in people applying to train as a Register Nurse, after the scrapping of student nurse bursaries (a7, a8, a9, a10).
- Nurses’ pay has fallen in real terms by 14% since 2010 (a11).
- There has been a 50% increase in nurses applying for hardship grants since 2010 (a12), last year alone £250,000 was paid out in hardship grants (a13).
- Last year there was a 3% increase in emergency admissions to hospital via A&E (a14), yet last year NHS funding only increased by 0.9%, as it has done year on year since 2010 (a15).
Nurses are the glue of healthcare, without us so much patient care just would not happen, yet our profession is being eroded. What would you do, if you were elected my MP, to reverse this erosion and to protect and value nursing?
As I said, my vote is very important to me, as a voter and also as a nurse. Why should I vote for you in this coming election?
Drew Payne (Mr),
(Email address) – to make sure they can reply to me
(Postal address) – to show that I live in their constituency