Large billboards reminding the new prime minister of worsening nurse shortages and the need for a fair pay rise have been placed across the country.
The Royal College of Nursing has today launched a nationwide public campaign to coincide with Liz Truss’s first full day in office, using largescale posters to warn of the current crisis within health and care services.
Adverts highlighting the record nurse vacancies in the NHS in England can be found around the Westminster area on underground stations and on billboards.
One poster reminds Ms Truss of her campaign admission that “hospitals are falling apart”, while another warns of the pressures facing ambulance services and the high levels of patient demand.
The RCN’s upcoming strike ballot – due to be launched next week in wake of the government’s latest pay awards in the UK – also features as part of the campaign and calls for action on pay.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the UK, one thousand bus stops will display separate adverts, also focusing on nurse pay.
One poster says: “A cost of living crisis and a decade of pay cuts has pushed nursing staff to use foodbanks and even sleep in their cars. We demand change.”
Another adds: “Fact: when there aren’t enough nurses, the risk of death increases. Back a pay rise for patient safety.”
The campaign launches as Thérèse Coffey is confirmed as the new health and social care secretary.
RCN general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, said: “From her first moment at the despatch box, the new prime minister can demonstrate she is listening to the concerns of nursing staff.
“The toughest questions facing Liz Truss will come from our members and millions of health and care workers like them.
“They are struggling – at home and work – like never before. And deserve serious answers, not brushing aside.”
Pointing towards the upcoming strike ballot, Ms Cullen added: “After many years of underinvestment, and in the face of a nursing workforce crisis that is undermining safe care and causing incredible financial hardship, nursing professionals are standing up for patients and themselves.
“Until the new prime minister puts forward a fair and adequate proposal, I will continue asking nursing staff to take strike action.”
Nursing Times approached No. 10 for comment.