Long-term staff vacancy rates for nursing posts in England have increased this year, according to figures from the NHS Information Centre.
The latest NHS Vacancies Survey reports on health service vacancies as they were on 31 March 2009, including the total number of vacancies and also long-term vacancies – those that have remained unfilled for three months or more.
It shows that across most NHS staff groups, long-term vacancy rates show a slight increase on last year but remain lower than 2006 and before.
Among qualified nursing staff, total vacancies rose from 2.5% in 2008 to 3.1%, with long-term vacancies also increasing from 0.5% to 0.7%.
Total vacancies fell among psychiatric nurses from 3.2% in 2008 to 2.7%. But the long-term vacancy rate rose from 0.6 to 0.9%, meaning about one in three vacancies for a post of psychiatric nurses takes three months or more to fill.
For midwives, total vacancies increased from 2.1% in 2008 to 3.4%, with long-term vacancies also rising from 0.8% to 1.0% and accounting for about one in four of all midwife vacancies.
When broken down by strategic health authority, London had the highest long-term vacancy rate for qualified nursing staff with the three-month vacancy rate increasing from 1.2% in 2008 to 1.6% this year.