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Agency identifies ‘most sought-after’ nursing specialities


Four groups of nursing staff are in most short supply at the moment, according to an analysis of demand for agency workers.

Recruitment agency MSI Group has compiled a top 10 list of the UK’s “most sought-after clinicians”, based on market analysis.

It noted that some already featured on the government’s current list of occupations in short enough supply that they can be “sensibly” filled by overseas recruits from outside Europe.

But the agency warned that more needed to be done to train and develop healthcare professionals in order to “avoid major future skills-gaps”.

Top of its shortage list was district nurses, though it noted that “current demand” also extended to health visitors and other community staff.

It said the health service’s move towards attempting to provide services in the community that were traditionally provided in hospitals had “created unprecedented demand for district nurses”.

The list also included specialist intensive care nurses, accident and emergency nurses and paediatric nurses.

There was currently high demand for specialist nurses to staff intensive care units, particularly neonatal intensive care units, the agency said.

“It is essential investment is made in training and development to ensure we are able to pipeline talent for the future”

Nick Simpson, MSI

Meanwhile, it said A&E departments were seeking to recruit nurses following the new guidance, published earlier this year by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which recommended there should be a maximum of four patients per nurse.

Although not on the government shortage occupation list, registered paediatric and neonatal nurses were “continually sought-after, as strict nurse-to-patient ratios are enforced amid consistent demand”, said the agency.

MSI Group also identified sonographers, radiographers, surgeons, psychiatrists, A&E doctors and locum GPs on its list.

In February, government advisors recommended against registered nursing in general being added to its shortage occupation list.

The Migration Advisory Committee, which advises ministers, carried out a partial review of the shortage occupation list in September. It concluded nursing should not be added, as it “did not receive evidence of a national shortage”.

It also recommended that specialist nurses working in neonatal or paediatric intensive care units who had previously been on the list should now be removed. But it said paramedics and various medical roles in clinical radiology, paediatrics, psychiatry and emergency medicine should be added.

The committee’s decision drew an angry response from the Royal College of Nursing, which insisted there was “extensive and unambiguous” evidence of a shortage of nurses in the UK.


Readers' comments (8)

  • michael stone

    'It said the health service’s move towards attempting to provide services in the community that were traditionally provided in hospitals had “created unprecedented demand for district nurses”.'

    What a surprise - for a couple of years there was 'a plan' to try and move care from hospitals into the community, and to do more in primary care to lower hospital admission rates, and the result is that the system needs more district nurses [than are readily available].

    Well I never - I'm 100% shocked !

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  • Likewise Michael,although I think the idea was that these, often elderly people should look after themselves with all their problems associated with:

    renal failure,cardiac issues,uncontrolled diabetes,COAPD,limited mobility,recurring urine infections,dehydration,malnutrition,
    painful arthritis,failing eyesight,poor hearing,injury due to falling over a few times e,t,c

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  • michael stone

    Hi Julie - yes, and you do get the impression, that a significant part of this 'plan' involves patients not actually getting ill to start with.

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  • Laha78

    A big part of the problem in specialist nursing groups such as District Nursing and Health Visiting is extra studying and a specialised qualification is needed before you can even apply for any jobs in this field!
    I would love to become a health visitor but cannot afford to drop my current band 6 to achieve the necessary qualification.
    Why not employ experienced and enthusiastic nurses into these roles and incorporate university and study time in! Surely this is the most beneficial way to fill the umpteen jobs already advertised in these fields!

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  • In my area they keep telling us there aren't enough district nurses but there doesn't appear to have been much effort made to recruit more staff. It's that old chestnut again, lack of funding. Less nurse + increased caseload = ???

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  • Oh and district nurses are no longer called district nurses. They are community nurses. One can join the community team without a DN qualification but to become a team lead you would need to work toward the community specialist practitioner award (something like that I can't recall the exact name for it). Basically it's not regarded as a specialism any longer, even by it's own members. I once asked a DN to visit a patient for specialist wound care advice and she said she wasn't a specialist! Why let the DOH put us down, we are doing it all for them!

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  • In Aberdeen anyone wishing to become a DN now has to do a 3 years Masters course for the community specialist practitioners course. Oh and as if that wasn't bad enough they also have to work full time as well as fund 50% (£200 per month) of the course... emmm some how I believe no one will be rushing to take this offer up!!!

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  • I've often said we will soon be paying the NHS to work for them. Talk about no truer a word being said in jest...

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