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Nurse vacancies continue at record high of more than 47,000

NHS Digital data reveals 47,496 full-time equivalent registered nursing vacancies in the NHS in England – a rise of more than 600 since the end of June

NHS Digital data reveals 47,496 full-time equivalent registered nursing vacancies in the NHS in England – a rise of more than 600 since the end of June

Nursing shortages are continuing to surge, hitting a record high by the end of September, with more than 47,000 vacancies.

Latest data from NHS Digital, published today, revealed 47,496 full-time equivalent (FTE) registered nursing vacancies in the NHS in England. It is a rise of more than 600 since the end of June when there were 46,828 FTE nursing vacancies.

Highest number of regional nurse vacancies in London and the Midlands

Today’s

NHS Digital data reveals 47,496 full-time equivalent registered nursing vacancies in the NHS in England – a rise of more than 600 since the end of June

Nurse vacancies continue at record high of more than 47,000
Picture; iStock

Nursing shortages are continuing to surge, hitting a record high by the end of September, with more than 47,000 vacancies.

Latest data from NHS Digital, published today, revealed 47,496 full-time equivalent (FTE) registered nursing vacancies in the NHS in England. It is a rise of more than 600 since the end of June when there were 46,828 FTE nursing vacancies.

Highest number of regional nurse vacancies in London and the Midlands

Today’s figures represent a vacancy rate of 11.9%, the same as the previous quarter and the joint highest level since 12.1% in September 2019.

London and the Midlands again came out on top with the highest number of vacancies regionally, with 11,387 in London and 9,750 in the Midlands. However, the North East and Yorkshire region saw the largest increase, rising from 5,866 vacancies in June to 6,304 in September.

Nursing vacancies in England by region Jun 2022 Sep 2022 Change
East of England 4,228 4,197 -0.7%
London 11,163 11,387 2.0%
Midlands 9,672 9,750 0.8%
North East and Yorkshire 5,886 6,304 7.1%
North West 5,844 5,832 -0.2%
South East 6,760 6,564 -2.9%
South West 3,679 3,462 -5.9%

RCN director for England Patricia Marquis warned the health service is at breaking point and urged health and social care secretary Steve Barclay to ‘change course’ on pay negotiations.

‘Workforce gaps and being underpaid have made care unsafe’ – RCN

‘With more than 13,000 patients a day stuck in hospitals because the community and social care they need to be safely discharged to is unavailable, it’s easy to see why health and care is at breaking point,’ she said.

‘Combined with a record 47,000 nurse vacancies across the NHS in England, this is precisely the reason why our members have decided to strike – because the workforce gaps and being underpaid have made care unsafe.’

The picture remains stark across the NHS, with 133,000 FTE posts unfilled – the highest in records going back to June 2017, and up 29% year on year from the 103,809 vacancies reported at the end of September 2021.

The Department of Health and Social Care said there are record numbers of staff working in the NHS, including 9,300 more nurses compared to September 2021.

‘The overall number of available posts is increasing as we expand services to bust the COVID backlogs and provide the best possible care to patients,’ a spokesperson said.

The government has also promised to publish a workforce strategy next year detailing how many nurses and other healthcare staff will be needed in the coming years.


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