A recent article in Nurses in Practice (29/9/23) talked about submissions made by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to the COVID-19 inquiry which has highlighted long Covid’s severe impact on UK nurses. Many nurses are left chronically ill and unable to work after dedicated service during the pandemic. The RCN supports designating long Covid a legal disability to protect affected nurses.
During the pandemic, nurses faced immense strains of understaffing, inadequate PPE, and fear of infecting family members. Thousands reached breaking point, doubting they could continue in nursing. The RCN said long-term government underinvestment left the workforce ill-equipped for COVID-19.
The RCN argues the inquiry should recommend legislation mandating accountable health workforce planning, ensuring nurse recruitment, retention and sustainable staffing levels to handle future pandemics.
RCN chief Pat Cullen will detail nurses’ heavy burden during COVID-19. In June, the inquiry heard nursing groups were excluded from decision-making, despite this burden.
Justice demands urgent action to compensate and support nurses suffering long-term effects of exemplary pandemic service. Their sacrifice enabled society to function, but abandonment now would be an injustice.
The pandemic response leaned heavily on nurses’ dedication amidst chronic underinvestment. We owe affected nurses support and a healthcare system ready for the next crisis. The inquiry must spur reform.
You can read the full article here.