Expert advice

With an ageing workforce, nurse numbers is no laughing matter

The health secretary’s defence of his pledge takes the focus off the real point, says James Buchan
Picture shows a female medic sitting at a desk and writing. The health secretary’s humorous defence of his pledge on nurse numbers takes the focus off the real point, says James Buchan.

The health secretary’s defence of his pledge for 50,000 ‘more’ nurses takes the focus off the real point

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock recently mounted what was termed a ‘tongue-in-cheek defence’ of his pledge to increase nurse numbers in the NHS in England.

Speaking at the launch of the Florence Nightingale Foundation academy in January, he said critics of the government’s ‘50,000 more nurses’ policy did not understand the maths .

Taking account of nurses retiring and existing vacancies

Mr Hancock reportedly drew laughter when he said: ‘We have made a commitment to 50,000 more nurses. Not necessarily 50,000 new nurses, although it’s interesting that


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