The chief nursing officers from the UK’s four countries have reflected on the achievements of the past year and thanked those who are working over the festive period. 
24 DECEMBER, 2019 BY REBECCA GILROY 
 
The chief nursing officers from the UK’s four countries have reflected on the achievements of the past year and thanked those who are working over the festive period. 
 
While recognising the challenges of 2019, including worsening vacancy numbers and strike action in Northern Ireland, the CNOs said there was still much to celebrate in the profession. 
 
They acknowledged the personal sacrifices that nurses made every day to deliver first class patient care, but particularly over the holiday season. 
 
As the year comes to a close, the chief nurses urged staff to grasp the opportunities that 2020, which has been designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, presented. 
 
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England 
 
“So as we stand on the cusp of 2020 I believe we have lots to celebrate but even more to look forward to. This is time for us to both reflect on what we have achieved and also for us to focus on what we want for the future. 
 
Ruth May 
 
“A vital part of this is having the brightest and the best people in our future workforce and this week’s new investment in them and us, shows that that this is widely felt. 
 
“Please pass this news on: we need to make sure that friends, families - anyone who is looking for a brilliant, rewarding career is aware of the opportunities we can offer and can make an application by the UCAS deadline on 15 January 2020. 
 
“Finally – to the many thousands to those of you working across the festive period, my most heartfelt thanks. Please look after yourselves, making time for rest and enjoying the company of loved ones.” 
 
Professor Jean White, chief nursing officer for Wales 
 
“I want to give my thanks to all our hard-working nurses and midwives who are always there to look after us, but especially those on duty over Christmas and New Year. 
 
Jean White 
 
“Even if you are working over the festive season, I do hope that you all have some time off to spend with family and friends. I hope you all have a very peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.” 
 
Fiona McQueen, chief nursing officer for Scotland 
 
“The festive period can bring its own unique challenges and demands, but NHS staff meet those with the same enduring care, compassion, and professionalism. At such a busy time, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and want to give my thanks to all our dedicated and hardworking staff who are always there to look after us. 
 
“We recognise the challenges that exist for the NHS, which is why this year has seen actions to continue our commitment to recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce. 
 
Fiona McQueen 
 
“Student nursing intake in Scotland will increase for the eighth consecutive year, up by 5%, creating 4,206 places for 2020-21. This along with a £10,000 bursary from September 2020 will help secure a sustainable nursing and midwifery workforce for the future. 
 
“The NHS is built on the commitment and dedication of its workforce and I am proud to be a part of that. I hope all our staff know that they are valued and admired by us all.” 
 
Charlotte McArdle, chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland 
 
“I want to personally give my thanks to all our health and social care staff and to nurses and midwives for their dedication and commitment throughout the year, and particularly to those on duty over the Christmas holidays. Year after year you demonstrate the gift of selflessness providing care to those who need it when you could be spending time with your own families and friends. 
 
"2019 has been a very challenging year, with health and social care services under increasing pressures. The issues we faced tug hard at the values of the health and social care sector. From a nursing perspective equity, fairness, advocacy, safety and compassion were all challenged. 
 
"It is with great sadness and regret that I saw nurses across NI deciding to take unprecedented industrial action. When I spoke with colleagues on the picket line the anger and frustration felt across the workforce was plain to see. I want to thank colleagues for working with health trusts to maintain patient care on the affected days and in the days following. 
 
“We all hope that 2020 will bring not just a speedy resolution to this industrial dispute, but a longer term funding settlement for health that deals with pay, staffing, waiting lists and transformation. 
 
Charlotte McArdle 
 
“While it will take time to resolve our staffing issues, I want to assure you that we are moving in the right direction. We have invested heavily in undergraduate nurse training places and this year the first cohort of those additional places have gone on to the register. 
 
"Next year we will see that increase, and the following year it will increase again. So we’re starting to see the results of our investment, which I hope will give optimism to those trying to deliver care across our settings. You are holders of hope, the voice of the vulnerable and the champions of change. 
 
“2020 is also the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife – this means that for the first time in history, there will be a global celebration of the benefits that nursing and midwifery bring to the health of the population of the world. As part of Nursing Now NI there is a calendar of events organised for 2020 and I urge all nurses to get involved and grasp the opportunities that the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife presents. 
 
“Nurses make huge personal sacrifices especially at this time of year, doing extra shifts or changing off duty at short notice so they can care for patients. That’s what being a professional and a registered nurse means, ensuring the best outcomes for the people you provide care and treatment for." 
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