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Labour promises 'emergency recruitment round' for students


The Labour Party has pledged to create 1,000 extra places on nurse training courses this year, as part of an “immediate rescue plan” for the NHS, if it is elected.

The party has announced a seven-point plan that it said was needed to tackle the “crisis” affecting the health service, citing figures for waiting times for accident and emergency and GP appointments.

“More than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed”

Labour Party

It also stated that more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed, in reference to results from a Nursing Times survey carried out in February 2014.

As a result, it said it would “launch an emergency recruitment round for nurses to get 1,000 more into training this year”.

“There will be further measures to increase the number of nurses and other health professionals through incentives for staff to remain in (and return to) the NHS,” it added, but did not provide further details.

Other actions on the plan, published by Labour last night, included a “kick start” to early planning for winter later this year, with GPs stationed in all A&E departments and more clinically-trained NHS 111 staff.

The party said councils, the NHS and charities would be required to work together to identify patients at most risk of admission next winter so support could be provided to keep them out of hospital and that it would “tackle” delayed discharge for those that did end up being admitted.

“We will use that money to support the NHS with our immediate rescue plan – an emergency round of nurse recruitment. Funding for 1,000 extra training places this year”

Ed Miliband

It also reiterated its pledge to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and that it would raise the necessary funding a tobacco levy and a “mansion tax”, which it has now pledged to introduce in its first budget, if elected.

“Labour has a fully-costed plan to rescue our NHS,” the party stated.

Labour leader Ed Miliband announced the plan today in a speech at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“On their first day in office, Labour ministers will instruct officials to write to colleges and universities, and call on them to reopen admissions for highly-oversubscribed nursing courses this year.

“And we’ll take further action too, so we can get more nurses on the wards straight away, we’ll persuade nurses to stay in practice and to return to practice. This is part of our plan for 20,000 more nurses,” he said, in reference to a manifesto pledge to boost the nursing workforce.  

He told student nurses in the audience that his party’s pledge to put in more resources would mean “there are jobs for you to go to in the NHS”.

In response, the Council of Deans of Health said it welcomed “all serious initiatives” to address the current workforce crisis in the health service.

“We welcome all serious initiatives to address the current workforce crisis”

Jessica Corner

It highlighted the need to find good placements for any extra students and to provide appropriate funding for both universities and placement providers.

Council chair Professor Dame Jessica Corner said: “Although it will be a stretch to recruit students at short notice, if places are made available then we will work with the NHS to get as many suitable candidates as possible on to courses.”

The Royal College of Nursing said it was “good to see a detailed plan for training more nurses immediately”.

Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said 30,000 people had been turned away from nurse training courses last year.

“We know that there is no shortage of potential nurses,” he said. “Now we need the political will to train them.”

But Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb cited the fact that Labour had so far failed to commit to provide the £8bn five-year funding package that NHS leaders believe the service needs.

“Until Labour agree to make the necessary resources available, all they can offer is warm words and nothing more,” he said.

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have pledged to meet the funding requirement.




Readers' comments (11)

  • 1000 new nurses equates to approxiamately 4 nurses per UK hospital. Nurse training is 3 years so by the time it comes to the next election in 2019 they will just be through their training. As we know many go into nurse traing to get a degree and then leave so how is that going to help.
    Does not anyone help these politicians to understand how the NHS works. It would stop them throwing out these silly suggestions.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 21-Apr-2015 2:40 pm

    'Does not anyone help these politicians to understand how the NHS works. It would stop them throwing out these silly suggestions.'

    Two good questions in there. Some politicians might understand how the NHS works, others probably not. But even if they do, politicians 'throw out' things which they think will get them elected and into power.

    Just at the moment, both Tories and Labour seem to be 'offering almost whatever anybody wants' in a desperate attempt to get votes.

    If somebody could get the Tories to promise not to increase VAT, and Labour to promise to not put up Income Tax, then they would have promised to spend lots of money, without any obvious way of getting the money to spend.

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  • I have to agree with both responses - sadly when faced with a very real crisis none of the parties are being frank and realistic with the public about the extent of the NHS funding gap. The £8 billion spoken of is as Roy Lilley says today in his excellent blog "just to keep the lights on". Genuinely difficult stuff ahead, huge issues, and what is really needed is a cross party agreement to have a realistic engagement on what has to be the most challenging future the NHS has yet had to face. And not just promises, because they won't plug the gap!

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  • Has anyone thought about giving decent pay rises to existing experienced staff to try and quell the exodus? It must be cheaper to offer a decent salary increase that makes up for losses suffered over the past few years, than to train a load more nurses, who, as someone has pointed out, will most likely get their degrees and leave when the reality of the job becomes apparent. i feel totally undervalued and consider recent pay restraint to be a kick in the teeth. Although i continue to try and work to the best of my ability, I am fed up with constant giving of my time for absolutely no reward. I am happy to stay and work overtime to get the job done, but there is no way we are paid, or even appreciated, for "going the extra mile". A decent pay increase and a proper career path would go a long way to improving motivation.

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  • Cash incentives and return to practice is needed. The shock of understaffing on the majority of wards is unbelievable, the workload of having eight high dependancy patients, no wonder nurses leave.

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  • Recruitment of 1,000 nurses really does smell like desperation for votes.
    You will not keep nurses if you treat them like dirt.
    Im currently an anaesthetic nurse in a large teaching hospital in London and the situation is worse than ever.We lose permanent staff with 18 months of recruiting,students nurses do not take up posts but go elsewhere and to make things even worse our valuable agency staff no longer return because of huge workload and no breaks.It has become so severe that our weekend elective surgery has to be staffed by agency or our permanent staff doing bank shifts on their days off.
    These political parties and the greedy NHS bosses are clueless when it comes to how to recruit and retain staff

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  • eduardo escobar | 21-Apr-2015 10:51 pm

    sounds a really dangerous and desperate situation for patients and also for the health of staff. what patients wants to be treated under such conditions although they often have little or no choice. what staff choose to work under these conditions and it seems it has got so bad it cannot be resolved overnight and with the threat of getting worse with less staff and closures in some areas exacerbating the problems elsewhere.

    hopefully nurses are going to think very seriously and each for themselves about who they want to govern without being swayed by their peers, unions and the masses and nor tempted by such carrots held out by politicians desperate to get votes just before the election.

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  • Laha78

    1000 nurses?! Hardly a dent in the crisis we have right now!!!
    How about a pay rise of more than a peasy 1% and giving employees an incentive to get back to work for the mass majority off on long term sick with stress!
    All these parties are as bad as each other, perhaps MP's should be people who actually work in various fields instead of overpaid fat cats who think they know how systems and corporations operate!!

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  • Remember, the last Labour government amassed or allowed more debt to grow for the people of the UK than any other UK government in history. But they did this by stealth in a lot of ways and where PFI as an example was 'off-balance sheet' and although the country will have amassed debts of over $450 Billion (Nearly 1/2 trillion dollars and 1/5th of the UK's national GDP) by the time it is paid off (if ever), Labour will do it all over again given the chance.

    Labour take no blame for this and would probably use more PFI and PPP to increase the UK's debt even further off-balance sheet. Remember that Miliband has stated that he will not borrow. What he means by this is that he will not borrow that shows up as national debt, but that still leaves him to borrow and borrow off-balance sheet and the people will be no wiser unless someone educates them in what is actually happening.

    Therefore don't believe Miliband is my advice as he will borrow money no matter what (he has to do to keep his manifesto promises), whether it be seen or not seen by the British taxpayer - 'UK's Debt is far more than what people really think -

    The above debt that was predominantly amassed by the UK during Labour's 13 years in government, shows how a Labour government cannot be trusted with the UK's economy. For the analysis by PwC was undertaker in 2009, when Labour was still in power and had created this unprecedented debt for the British people, whether on the government's balance sheet or off-balance sheet (borrowing and creating taxpayer supported debt by stealth).

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  • David Hill

    PFI was a Tory wheeze, dreamed up by John Majors Government and first implemented by them.

    The current Tory crowd have borrowed more money than ALL previous Governments combined! That's what happens when the Chancellor has a degree in Modern History.

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