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Cruel Britannia: a personal critique of nursing in the United Kingdom

Watson, Roger; Shields, Linda


Linda Shields


The United Kingdom (UK) once led the world in nursing but because of the exigencies of the funding mechanisms of the National Health Service (NHS), it has fallen a long way behind other countries. We aim to raise awareness inside and outside the UK about the decline in nursing as a profession there. We are purposely contentious, in an attempt to raise questions, both for the UK and for countries which are recruiting British nurses who are leaving because of job losses caused by the funding crisis in the NHS. This paper discusses where the problems that have led to the decline have come from, where nursing is going and poses questions for the future. We hope that the UK government and those who infl uence the development of nursing will bring it back to the standard it once had. © eContent Management Pty Ltd.


Watson, R., & Shields, L. (2009). Cruel Britannia: a personal critique of nursing in the United Kingdom. Contemporary nurse, 32(1-2), 42-54.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2009
Online Publication Date Dec 18, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2009
Print ISSN 1037-6178
Electronic ISSN 1839-3535
Publisher e-Content Management
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 1-2
Pages 42-54
Keywords politics; nursing; debate; nursing education; UK; National Health Service
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