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.
Public health nursing has its origins in the mid 1800's when the inequalities of the 19th century, and the ruinous health outcomes of the poorest in society, became increasingly apparent. Following the Boer War, in which the Government struggled to find enough young people who were fit enough to recruit as soldiers, infant welfare in particular fast became a priority.
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.
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...
Around 7,500 nurses from the EU registered to work in the UK last year. This is an increase on the previous year, which was an increase on the year before that. Overseas nurses have played a vital role in the NHS since its inception, and will continue to do so, but clearly when trusts are relying more and more on this form of recruitment something is going wrong.
Thousands of nurses have left their homes and moved to the other side of the world, to work for the NHS in hospitals, our emergency departments and in our care homes. For the vast majority, their starting salary will be about £21,000 a year. Without them many health and social care organisations would struggle to deliver safe care. Their reward for this contribution to our health service? If they don't somehow increase their salary to £35,000 they will be forced to leave the country after six years.
As today's NSPCC report has uncovered, sexual abuse of children is on the rise, but what is perhaps more frightening is that these figures are likely to be much lower than the reality. So many children hide their experiences for a long time - and some never come forward at all. The modern world and its advances has brought us many advantages, but with them have come new dangers...