L-North East London MP Listening event | News

With a General Election expected later in the year, the Inner and Outer North East London RCN London branches organised the session to encourage members to tell local politicians about the challenges across the patch and what needs to change.   


Local politicians who joined the session were Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham; Sir Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham; Aspana Began, MP for Poplar and Limehouse; alongside representatives from the offices of Dame Meg Hiller MP, Wes Streeting MP and Julia Lopez MP. 


Members spoke about the pressure on local services with one member telling MPs that Barking, Redbridge and Havering University Hospitals NHS Trust experienced its “busiest day” in A&E in five years. They went on to describe how patients were being treated in corridors and that staff were at breaking point. Another member spoke about her challenge to recruit staff to her team, adding that younger nurses are continually leaving jobs because of poor pay, a lack of career progression, and their inability to afford a house in London.   


Another member spoke about the experience of internationally educated nurses, saying they are promised the opportunity to work in a world-class health system only to find out it’s like working in a “war zone”. 


Mental health services were another big issue highlighted. An A&E nurse spoke about patients in crisis facing long waits to access appropriate care and instead, they are being left in busy emergency departments as there is nowhere for them to go. Furthermore, children’s service was also a focal point for discussion. One member, a Health Visitor, described how stretched her service was due to staffing challenges, while another member working in the community spoke about the impact of car parking charges and ULEZ.  


Finally, members said there has been a significant rise in violence and aggression towards staff from patients and their families as the public gets increasingly frustrated with overcrowding and waiting times.    


The MPs acknowledged the pressures nursing staff are working under and Lyn Brown MP said she understood how hard it is “not to be able to provide the care you want”. However, Sir Stephen Timms said that there is “no quick fix” and change will take time.  


Wrapping up, Chair of the Inner North East London branch, Shiby Varughese, said:  


“Our discussion has shown that our NHS is far from the world-class health service it should be. Instead, years of funding cuts, chronic staffing challenges and poor nursing pay have ravaged something the British public truly value.


With a general election in sight, it’s never been more important for our profession to come together and speak with a strong and determined voice. 


I hope our session gave the MPs some valuable insight and that they will use it to demand more for our profession and our patients in Parliament.”


Recommended For You