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My commitment to recruit more nurses is unwavering, says Boris Johnson

Prime minister’s pledge comes with no detail on how many more nurses NHS can expect in 2021
woman does an online search for a job as prime minister says he wants more nurses recruited to NHS in England

Government accused of fudging nurse workforce numbers

The Westminster government will not confirm publicly a nurse recruitment target for 2021.

Prime minister Boris Johnson made a statement promising a boost to nurse numbers this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but failed to go into detail about numbers. He has already pledged to expand the workforce in England by 50,000 over the next three years.

The prime minister stated: My commitment to recruit more teachers, nurses, police officers and other front-line workers is unwavering.

We have made good progress

Government accused of ‘fudging’ nurse workforce numbers

woman does an online search for a job as prime minister says he wants more nurses recruited to NHS in England
Picture: iStock

The Westminster government will not confirm publicly a nurse recruitment target for 2021.

Prime minister Boris Johnson made a statement promising a boost to nurse numbers this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – but failed to go into detail about numbers. He has already pledged to expand the workforce in England by 50,000 over the next three years.

The prime minister stated: ‘My commitment to recruit more teachers, nurses, police officers and other front-line workers is unwavering.

‘We have made good progress this year, but 2021 will be a year of growth and renewal.’

However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is declining to reveal any target figure for this year.

Nurses numbers at historic high level in year of pandemic

The number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 13,313 last year to a record 299,184, according to the DHSC.

An RCN spokesperson said the increase is not enough and was partly accounted for by the return of some staff in response to the pandemic.

Anthony Johnson, lead organiser of the Nurses United UK pressure group
Anthony Johnson of Nurses United UK

The spokesperson added: ‘We have been clear for some time that the government can prioritise nursing staff recruitment and retention by investing in nursing education and continuing professional development, improving conditions for working nursing staff as well as improving pay for hard-working staff.’

Lead organiser of pressure group Nurses United UK Anthony Johnson said: ‘This government continues to fudge the numbers to suit their narrative that all is well, while intensive care nurses are caring for three times the number than is safe.’


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