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UK not alone in nursing workforce concerns

Numbers retiring and lack of locally trained staff are factors in the United States, Portugal and Australia too, say experts

The UK, Portugal, the United States and Australia all share common concerns about the state of their nursing workforces, according to a report expected from the International Council of Nurses. 

The report, to be published next week, will say that all four countries have large numbers of staff nearing retirement, high patient demand due to population increases and a dearth of nurses trained locally.

Its content is drawn in part from a meeting of workforce experts from the four countries who belong to the International Centre of Nurse Migration. They discussed the issues last month at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) conference in Seoul, South Korea.

James Buchan, a nursing workforce expert and professor in the school of health sciences at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, was the UK’s representative at the event.

An ICN spokesperson said: ‘In all four countries, unifying factors of concern include an ageing nursing workforce, global population and a shortage of domestically trained nurses. 

‘Effective data collection of workforce supply and demand equips policy makers with a view of migration flow as a basis for sustaining the healthcare workforce for the global population.’

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