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Survey finds high demand for agency nurses – and a shortage of available staff

Researchers say key front-line NHS services could be under threat

Researchers say key front-line NHS services could be under threat


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Nursing and care staff are the temporary workers most in demand, a survey of 400 UK recruitment consultancies and employers has revealed.

The survey – undertaken monthly by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and professional service company KPMG – highlights how bookings in October for temporary nursing and care staff, and medical staff, expanded at their quickest rate since May. 

However, the companies cited difficulties with hiring such staff due to a shortage of candidates.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry said: ‘As we head towards winter, we are once again seeing potential shortages of nursing, medical and social care staff in the NHS.

‘Working with recruiters to address this should be a government priority. Without access to agency workers, key front-line services could be under threat.’

According to NHS Digital figures released in September, there are 41,722 nursing vacancies in England.

‘Good candidates are at a premium’

KPMG vice chair James Stewart said: ‘Businesses across the country, of all types, are struggling to find work-ready staff.

‘Particular pinch points include IT, engineering, and nursing and care staff. Some clients tell us they are seeing the worst period of staff availability for 20 years.

‘A four-decade low in unemployment, and a dwindling supply of EU workers, means good candidates are at a premium.

‘Consequently we’re seeing wages pushed upwards, and a trend of canny workers job-hopping to secure a pay rise rather than remaining loyal to their existing employers.’


Further information

Key points from the survey


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