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Nurse retirement could create staff crisis


London and the South East of England could be facing a serious nursing and midwife shortage over the next seven years, labour market analysts have warned.

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Forecasts by the health sector’s training and workforce council, Skills for Health, show that nearly 30,000 nurses and midwives are due to retire in both of these regions between 2007 and 2017.

The council’s report last week, which gave regional breakdowns on training levels, the job market and future workforce needs, also showed that the North West could struggle to retain the level of nursing staff needed.

It said that London was due to lose 31,000 “health associated professionals” - which includes nurses, midwives and therapists - by 2017 through retirement, while the South East was set to lose 28,000 and the North West 27,000. The North East may lose 10,000.

Skills for Health head of research Ian Wheeler said: “We don’t know if there are sufficient people coming through.”

He warned that retirement levels often “slipped under the radar” of trusts and strategic health authorities that were concerned more with budget deficits and meeting government policy.


Readers' comments (7)

  • We need to make up our mind what the true picture is. We either have a decline in nursing posts fueling job fears or a campaign is needed for national recruitment or there will be so many nurses retiring that there will be a shortage. I am confused.

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  • There wouldn't be a shortage if they just hired all the qualified but unemployed staff out there! OPEN THE JOBS UP AND STOP FREEZING THEM YOU PILLOCKS!!!!

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  • Steve Williams

    Stupid survey = stupid results = stupid conclusions = Factual NHS report.

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  • if i had been offered a job in the south east where my home is to match my skills qualifications and experience i wouldnt have had to leave and go abroad to earn a living. i feel all my hard work in learning the 'trade' and gaining experience was totally wasted and unappreciated in the south of england. nurse trained in a london teaching hospital and masters degree in healthcare management in a s.e. england university and 20 years clinical experience in a european university hospital with very high standards (which incidentally offered excellent working conditions) dont seem to count for anything at all with uk nhs employers. as a baby boomer, after all my anger and bitterness at the lack of support by my profession i have now had to learn to accept my situation but my only fear and regret left now is that there may be nobody left to look after me in my old age when i may need care

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  • I am 3 years qualified and working in a private hospital, after leaving the NHS due to bullying. I am de-skilling fast in private and want a chance to find employment within the NHS but there is nothing.

    I feel very disheartened that my training was for nothing. Why have we still got nurses from overseas still practicing here when our own nurses cannot find employment?

    I wish id never bothered with my nurse training.

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  • It is their own fault!
    I willing offered my services to the NHS and job hunted for over six months but my applications were slung back in my face! RN, MSc, 20 years experience in general medical nursing, multiskilled, excellent CV.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Aug-2011 8:19 am

    I should add to that as a result I was forced into retirement in my mid 50s and then onto benefits until I could collect my pension!

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