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Nurse vacancies drop below 1,000

The number of nursing vacancies has plunged to fewer than 1,000 across the entire country, figures collated by Nursing Times reveal.

There were only 941 nurse jobs advertised on the NHS Jobs website last week – a 58% drop and the lowest number since Nursing Times started collecting figures in August 2009.

The figures reflect job cuts and freezes as the tough financial settlements for the 2011-12 financial year start to bite.

Nursing Times also started gathering figures for healthcare assistant vacancies last May. Since then, they have dropped from 442 to just 243 as of last week – a 45% fall.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: “Every nurse I speak to says their workload has increased, the number of their colleagues has reduced and they’re under immense pressure and that’s affecting their health and family life.”

A survey by Nursing Times, published last week, shows two thirds of nurses believe they have suffered the side-effects of work-related stress over the past year.

On Thursday Unison will launch results from its own survey of 2,500 nurses, of whom 80% said their organisations are making cuts.

Respondents also said the numbers of patients they are treating has increased and this has had an effect on patient care and patient safety.

Ms Adams said: “Nurses are struggling to provide care and the care they are providing isn’t to the standard they would wish.”

Readers' comments (9)

  • Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: “Every nurse I speak to says their workload has increased, the number of their colleagues has reduced and they’re under immense pressure and that’s affecting their health and family life.”
    Nurses are struggling to provide care and the care they are providing isn’t to the standard they would wish.”

    Hear hear. Add to all of that the so important paperwork, where do patients come then? Second I tell you. If it is not documented it is not done........so we spend for more time infront of computer or case notes depends where you work.


    And yes we are getting more stressed in my team we have been for about 5 months down on staffing levels because we had to wait for those at risk (redundancies) to have interviews ect......
    hoping they will start soon......

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  • What a bloody joke. I mean why are people going to bother training to be a Nurse when there are no jobs? What about those who are qualified but cannot find a job as a Staff Nurse? What about those of us with a job but are struggling with far too few staff because trusts will not hire any more? What about those who want their career to progress instead of stagnating? What an absolute piss take. I am sick to the back teeth of this.

    "Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: Blah blah blah." I don't want the usual servile platitudes. I want to know what the hell she and Unison are going to do about it? I left the RCN through their inaction and incompetence, I don't want to leave another union too!

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  • Mike,
    I appreciate what you are saying, but Nurses will continue to train to fill the gaps left by those who leave the profession for whatever reason and who need to be replaced.

    Numbers might be reduced, but perhaps that might increase the skills of the newly qualified staff nurses as the Universities only take the cream of the recruitment crop. Perhaps then we will stop finding junior staff nurses who lack practical skills such as being able to monitor blood pressure or make simple mathematical calculations etc. I always thought such stories were urban myth until I saw it with my own eyes.

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  • Anonymous | 11-May-2011 11:26 am sorry I have to disagree. Whilst there may always be people who want to enter the profession, I think there is going to be a vast increase in people who will stop and ask themselves do I really want to sacrifice 3 years of my life, with no pay, increased stress, etc to gain the degree, when I will get no return from it in terms of an actual job. This is true of every degree, Nursing is no different.

    Also how exactly will decreased numbers increase the skills of the newly qualified? Universities will not magically enhance their recruitment process when there are less people applying. By the way, I have known a lot of 'old/experienced' Nurses who lack basic skills too (luckily they were in the minority), that isn't specific to newly qualified staff (I have known bad and excellent ones), you shouldn't be so insulting to them.

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  • I agree Mike, a lot of people will look at the mess it is all in, and decide to do something other than nursing. Nurses who are newly qualified are looking at their prospects of promotion(or lack of), and wondering if it is worth working hard for years to get now where. They are also wondering whether to go for a private pension as ours is not going to be as good as was first thought. I wouldn't want to be starting out now.

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  • Im due to qualify in September, and the lack of prospects really worries me. Im beginning to see every other student as competition for the minimal amount of jobs, and all our local trusts are only advertising internally.

    Surely its better to employ a new nurse than pay money on sick pay for burnt out nurses. Surely its better to employ a nurse to ease the workload and make sure care is delivered, than a failed discharge and more money treating patients who should have already gone home.

    Im seriously worried, I want to work, I want to try my hardest for my patients but there is just no opportunities. Even trying to find a job away from Nursing is hard, so its rock and a hard place at the moment.



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  • I am fed up with the whole situation, why do still have all the overseas nurses when our own British trained nurses are without jobs?

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  • no time to look at the moment but surely the new website has more than 1000 jobs on it?
    problem seems that there are so many applicants for each job than the chances of getting one are very small - that was my experience some years ago anyway.

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  • more jobs need to be created for well qualified nurses and care assistants and other service supporters in the care of the elderly to meet the predicted increasing demands and to raise standards.

    recruitment, working conditions and career structure need to be attractive. as I have said before other countries in Europe manage care of their elderly well, it is also a part of the health and social welfare system and nursing like all the other services so there should be no discrimination or any excuses whatsoever for providing negligent services!

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