The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has joined the fight against the city’s nursing vacancy crisis by personally urging nurses of the future to embark on a career in the capital.
Mr Khan’s intervention comes after latest NHS figures put London’s empty nursing posts at 7,941 between January and March – a 5% rise from the same period in 2017.
“Nursing can be a hugely rewarding career, especially in London”
In a video supporting a new recruitment campaign by the Royal College of Nursing in London, Mr Khan described nursing as a “massively rewarding career” and encouraged new recruits to “look no further than London”.
The RCN branch launched #NursingLondon this summer in a bid to attract aspiring nurses to the city and to challenge what it called “the climate of negativity around nursing and health care”.
Run across social media, the campaign is supported by NHS England and CapitalNurse and has involved the circulation of inspiring case studies.
Trusts across the capital have used the initiative to demonstrate the range of career opportunities and health settings available to nursing staff in London.
“Nursing staff are the lifeblood of every city, and that is no different in London”
Mr Khan said he opposed the government’s removal of nursing bursaries and warned that the move would make the recruitment and retention of nurses harder. A new independent report released this week found a quarter of nursing students were dropping out before graduating.
Meanwhile, the number of applications to nursing courses has fallen by 32% in England since 2016 – the last year students received financial support, as reported in Nursing Times.
In a video filmed at City Hall, Mr Khan said: “The RCN has launched #NursingLondon, a campaign to promote nursing as a career and London as the place to work. As a proud champion of the NHS, I’m delighted to show my support.”
He added: “Whether in care homes, in our own homes, or on the wards of our hospitals nurses make a massive difference to the lives of those closest to us. For that reason, nursing can be a hugely rewarding career, especially in London, where outside of work you can enjoy all the city has to offer.”
RCN London operational manager, Mark Farmer, said the branch was “proud” to have Mr Khan on board.
He added: “Nursing staff are the lifeblood of every city, and that is no different in London where state of the art facilities allow them to deliver world-class care in one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world.”
“Unfortunately there remains a shortage of nursing staff in London due to a failure to recruit and retain enough nurses and a climate of negativity created by austerity. These issues must not be allowed to overshadow what an incredible career nursing is and what a fantastic city London is to be a nurse,” he said.
The launch of #NursingLondon follows just weeks after the NHS embarked on a major national campaign featuring TV and radio advertising, posters and social media to inspire more people to join the nursing profession.