March 22 – Nurses have urged chancellor George Osborne to keep promises to protect the NHS when he delivers his budget this week. Some 23,000 nurses and others have signed a Royal College of Nursing petition, which was delivered to 11 Downing Street yesterday.
Lee Thomas, a radiology nurse, Salma Bilkis, a student nurse and Kevin Takooree, deputy manager at a forensic mental health unit, delivered the petitions. The petition calls for an end to cuts to front-line services and jobs. The government has said total NHS funding is being protected – but the RCN says the drive to find £20 billion in efficiency savings is leading to corner-cutting to meet financial targets.
RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “In Budget week, it is really important that the government hears the voice of the front line, and hears it loud and clear. The number of nurses who have signed this letter shows how strongly they feel – further cuts would jeopardise patient care when nurses are already overstretched. We hope that the rhetoric will match the reality and that the NHS will indeed be protected.”