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Nursing shortages: how bad will it get?

 The NHS desperately needs to keep the nurses it already has as well as attracting new recruits. Yet efforts to fill thousands of vacancies risk being overwhelmed by mounting pressures and a lack of joined-up policy, says Alison Moore. 

The NHS desperately needs to keep the nurses it already has as well as attracting new recruits. Yet efforts to fill thousands of vacancies risk being overwhelmed by mounting pressures and a lack of joined-up policy, says Alison Moore.

The NHS in England has 24,000 vacancies for nurses, leaving many trusts with more than 200 posts vacant. But the cumulative impact of a number of factors – from an ageing workforce and pay restraint to Brexit – could make staff shortages a great deal worse in the near future.

This is not the first time the NHS has been on the brink of a major workforce crisis. There were nurse shortages at the turn of this century, and the government responded by making it easier to recruit from overseas, increasing

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