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NHS faces a nursing shortage, review for RCN warns

  • 22 Comments

Patient care in the NHS could suffer because of a future shortage of nurses, according to workforce research carried out for the Royal College of Nursing.

The annual RCN Labour Market review warns that a combination of the squeeze on NHS finances, reductions in places on nursing courses, and a higher number of nurses moving abroad than are coming to the UK means a shortage is looming.

The review, written by healthcare workforce experts from Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University, also points to the greater role employers are taking in workforce planning, under the government’s reforms. The review said this could lead to a narrow view of need, which could fuel a fall in nursing numbers.

It concludes: “It is becoming clearer that NHS nurse staffing levels in England are likely to reduce significantly over the next five to 10 years if current policies and trends continue.

“We know we risk a nursing shortage, and failure to deal with it now will lead to a failure to improve healthcare, it states. “Without policy change, the overall policy direction of the NHS in England is now towards reduced nurse staffing.”

The review forms part of evidence submitted by the RCN to the NHS Pay Review Body, which will recommend later this year whether staff should receive an increase in basic pay and, if so, by how much.

The RCN is calling for the pay review body to recommend a pay rise for NHS staff after the two year pay freeze, which it says has seen the majority suffer a 9% fall in living standards. It also wants an minimum £250 pay rise for staff earning less than £21,000 a year.

As previously revealed by Nursing Times, evidence submitted by the unions also includes survey results suggesting more than a third of nurses have “very seriously” considered leaving their job over the past 12 months.

Details of the survey results are included in the RCN’s evidence to the pay review body.

Of the 8,701 nurses who responded to the survey, 80% said the reason they would consider leaving was stress and workload, while two thirds said morale had worsened.

Two thirds said falling morale was caused by their dissatisfaction with the quality of care they felt able to provide.

However, NHS Employers, which represents health service organisations, favours an extension of the pay freeze.

  • 22 Comments

Readers' comments (22)

  • Yes But

    There is a slight complication - this is likely to be 100% correct, but it seems clear the NHS is facing a shortfall of almost everything: doctors, specialist doctors, hospital nurses, community nurses, money to spend, etc, etc - at the moment, the goverment has put the NHS into a position where everyone is shouting (and producing 'evidence in support') "cut something else, not us/my specialism".

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  • No s**t sherlock. They won't get the message until none of us are left and everyone starts dying, then they'll flap about like headless chickens wondering why we all pi**ed off and how they can get more staff!

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  • When will the Nursing Profession wake up and take full responsibility for allowing itself to loose it`s way...big time! I would never encourage anyone to qualify as a Nurse it`s soul destroying .In my specialty poor staffing levels and skill mix put patients at huge risk. We mislead the general public,families and carers everyday. I am so ashamed!

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  • my daughter wanted to follow me into nursing

    i have advised her against it explaining the long hours, low pay, pensions beyond reach etc etc

    i know its not all about money but im sick and tired of been kicked in the teeth..i have 13 years to retirement but im going early..i really carnt take this crap anymore!!!!!

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  • After years of running down front line staff numbers the non medical skilled, overpaid businessmen and failed accountants who with government consent and support, usurped control over the Health Care Provider which set the gold standard for health care and was the envy of the world, are realizing they have destroyed and are presiding over a dying National Health Service.
    A service which for years has been losing its greatest asset, its Nursing Staff! An asset which, due to their misdirection of budgets and disrespect is now unable to attract enough hands on staff who possess the required qualities to replace these losses.
    What to do???? The answer is simple.... sell off to the highest bidder... That is after all what the whole exercise was about, as planned by Thatcher....To send the NHS off to join the other public assets illegally sold off by a succession of both Tory and New Labour administrations.
    Shame on them!

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  • The RCN has a lot to answer to as well. For donkey's years it has done nothing what-so-ever to stand up for the Nursing profession, and always cow towing to the government of the decade. So, isn't about time the RCN a stand while there are still a few nurse left to care at all?

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  • The RCN has a lot to answer to as well. For donkey's years it has done nothing what-so-ever to stand up for the Nursing profession, and always cow towing to the government of the decade. So, isn't about time the RCN took a stand while there are still a few nurse left to care at all?

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  • The time has been and gone Iama, we lost. Those of us who tried to fight were left bloodied and battered against a larger enemy, and stabbed in the back by the apathy and infighting of our own profession. Now we have limped off the battlefield, disheartened, disillusioned and dejected. Some of us, myself included have moved on from the profession entirely, wishing those comrades in arms who stood by us god speed and a hearty salute, hoping that they too need not suffer the hell that nursing has become much longer, and leaving the rest of the profession who didn't even bother to turn up to a picket line or tick a box in a ballot to wallow in the destruction that they helped bring about.

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  • I am scared going into Nursing now.

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  • re-above

    dont its being attacked everday, even shopworkers at aldi get more per hour then an aux or hca

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