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'Unless we redress this situation, it will only get worse'

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National workforce planning is the most important item on anyone’s agenda at the moment. In fact, it is pretty much the only item on the agenda that anyone should be talking about.

It affects all of the profession. It affects all parts of healthcare. It affects all branches of nursing.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has today released its latest figures on the register. They reveal that the rate at which nurses from Europe are leaving the profession and the rate at which they are joining leaves the profession and the provision of healthcare in a perilous position.

Over the last year 5,577 fewer European nurses are joining the register – a drop of 87%. And 877 have left. Despite the number of UK nurses on the register stabilising over the last few months, the pattern over the last few years is that this is a profession in decline.

“It has created a catastrophe now, and a tragedy in waiting if we don’t alter our course”

After retirement, the second biggest reason for leaving the profession given by the 3,500 regisrants who responded to the survey was poor staffing levels. In other words, unless we redress this situation, it will only get worse.

It’s a perfect storm, and coupled with a decline in students choosing a nursing degree, it has created a catastrophe now, and a tragedy in waiting if we don’t alter our course.

The nursing associate programme has been put in place to offer something of a remedy, but in this ever-decreasing circle in which we find ourselves, the profession needs to work together to find long-term solutions and immediate fixes. On its own, the nursing associate and apprenticeship routes are not enough, and we cannot afford to erode the graduate profession any more.

At our Nursing Times Careers Live recruitment events that we have been running throughout the country for the past two years, we’ve noticed that trusts need our support in helping them to find new nursing talent and fill their vacancies.

So we’ve created a Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards to help trusts and nursing leaders with all these issues.

This event will bring together senior nursing leaders to help them talk through some of the challenges they are facing with their recruitment and retention, and help them to share best practice and great ideas to maintain a sustainable workforce plan.

Developed in collaboration with nurse leaders, associations and our launch partners, NHS Improvement, Health Education England, Unison, MiP and London South Bank University, this event will not shy away from discussing the real issues directors of nursing and their leadership teams are facing every day – that we don’t have enough nurses and we need a plan.

This event will offer directors and chief nurses the opportunity to discuss strategic workforce challenges in a private environment, protected under Chatham House rules.

The inaugural Workforce Awards in the evening will highlight employers that are supporting their workforce and are best in class at offering career development, wellbeing initiatives, preceptorship programmes – and are great places to work.

If you’re an employer – in the NHS or independent or charity sector – and think you’re doing something special for your nursing staff, we want to hear your story.

“It’s a chance for you to shine and will definitely help in your strategy to stand out from other employers”

If you win, it’s a great accolade to say you’re the best employer or best provider of a preceptorship – and will help you attract more new recruits.

As it’s completely free to enter, it’s a chance for you to shine and will definitely help in your strategy to stand out from other employers.

The event is on 4 October in London, and if you want to find out more, head to

We can’t wait to see you there.


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Write an article series in the national press, not a professional journal. We in the profession already know this stuff. It all boils down to crappy pay and crappy working conditions.

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