The uncertainty created by Brexit means that the reliance in recent years on recruitment from the EU is no longer available to shore up the numbers. Our NHS staff cannot keep giving more at the same time that we are giving them less, the Government needs to reinstate bursaries and end pay restraint - we cannot afford not to.
Since the Government announced the withdrawal of student funding for would-be nurses last year, we are already hearing of a 20% drop in applications for graduate nursing courses. And the 1% pay cap on salaries is not helping to encourage people into nursing and is making existing nurses reconsider whether they can even afford to continue. If the NHS wants to achieve a clean bill of health, we need to ensure there is adequate staffing, funding, resource and education. The health of the nation is at stake.
I've been a nurse for nearly 50 years, many of them on the front line in the care of sick children. It's a proud, positive and much loved profession. But as I write today, children's palliative nursing is facing a crisis: the number of children with life-limiting conditions that need care and support is increasing but the number of nursing posts to provide that support is failing to keep apace.
We all remember our days at school - our teachers, our friends, the moment the bell rang for break time. As children it's where we spend most of our time, the place where we build not only our academic skills but our knowledge of life and how to live it. But for some children and young people this experience is not quite the same.
Reaching breaking point in your current role doesn't necessarily mean you have to break away from your career completely, a side step might be just the thing you need to refresh your interest in your profession whilst freeing up more time to the other things that you enjoy. Life is about balance, stretching yourself to within an inch of your sanity is not going to do the best for you...
As a former model and photographer, I have trodden the catwalk during London Fashion Week, photographed an editorial shoot for Elle magazine, and was the youngest person to exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery. In 2013, I gave all this up to become an emergency nurse. A career that couldn't be more different from the one that I started in. Polar opposite in fact...
We cannot rely on charities: this needs to be a top priority for our Government and we need to find ways of working together to address this issue. It's no good having policy in place if it is not put into practice. The system needs to be overhauled and fast, if we are to provide the care and support that all disabled children and their families deserve.
The NHS is a system we all take for granted and I cannot begin to express its worth, or the worth of its employees. However, when faced with the all challenges it has had, the NHS struggles to provide the help nurses deserve, much less adequately address and support staff with chronic health problems. Nurses struggle, and their health suffers.