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More nursing vacancies than ever before, report uncovers

The nursing recruitment crisis is deepening with more vacancies than ever, particularly in areas with high living costs, official figures reveal today.

The nursing recruitment crisis is deepening with more vacancies than ever, particularly in areas with high living costs, official figures reveal today

Thames Valley, which covers Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Milton Keynes, advertised 1,957 nursing posts in the quarter ending September 2017 and hired just five nurses.

Similarly, the NHS in north west London successfully recruited less than one whole-time equivalent nurse per 50 advertised vacancies – 42 for the 2,545 posts, according to NHS Digital data.

The total number of vacancies in England as of 30 September was 34,260, up 2,400 on the previous quarter.

'The government can no longer deny the staffing crisis'

The RCN described the total vacancies figure as a 'new high' and said the government can no longer ignore the staffing crisis.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘These figures pull back

The nursing recruitment crisis is deepening with more vacancies than ever, particularly in areas with high living costs, official figures reveal today


Picture: iStock

Thames Valley, which covers Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Milton Keynes, advertised 1,957 nursing posts in the quarter ending September 2017 and hired just five nurses.

Similarly, the NHS in north west London successfully recruited less than one whole-time equivalent nurse per 50 advertised vacancies – 42 for the 2,545 posts, according to NHS Digital data.

The total number of vacancies in England as of 30 September was 34,260, up 2,400 on the previous quarter.

'The government can no longer deny the staffing crisis'

The RCN described the total vacancies figure as a 'new high' and said the government can no longer ignore the staffing crisis.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘These figures pull back the curtain to reveal an NHS desperately short of nurses. The government can no longer deny the staffing crisis.

‘The next generation of British nurses has been deterred by the current whirlwind tearing through the NHS – record pressure, lack of funding and poor pay for staff. It has never been busier, but is shedding experienced nurses quicker than it can find new ones.'

Ms Davies said cuts to training places were exacerbating the problem while long-serving staff feel 'demoralised and pushed to leave nursing'.

‘It is time to draw a line under this false economy with urgent investment in services and those who provide them – including a pay rise above inflation – and legislation to make ministers accountable for workforce planning and safe staffing levels,' she said.

The figures were released a week after a BBC investigation revealed more nurses are leaving the register than are joining, and nurses under 40 are quitting the NHS in unprecedented numbers.

One nursing or midwifery post is filled, per seven advertised

According to NHS Digital, trusts across England are only managing to fill an average of one nursing or midwifery post per seven advertised.

Community health services, community mental health and emergency departments appear to be the worst affected, according to NHS Digital data.

Between the 1 April and 30 September 2017, 6,161 community health service nursing and midwifery posts were advertised. Over the same period, there 2,272 posts advertised in community mental health and 2,232 in emergency departments.

Cardiology nursing vacancies were also high, with 1,285 posts advertised.

Doctor shortages too

It was also revealed today that two thirds of hospitals and almost half of GPs have a shortage of doctors, according to a poll by the British Medical Association.

In response to these figures, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: 'There are now record numbers of hardworking NHS staff, and while these figures show vacancies are relatively stable compared to last year, we want to make sure we keep these staff in the NHS.

'That's why we are helping all existing staff to improve their work/life balance by working more flexibly and we recently announced the biggest ever expansion of training places for doctors and nurses, as well as opening up extra routes into nursing – underlining our commitment to ensuring the NHS has the staff it needs, now and in the future.'

Read the NHS vacancy statistics


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