Expert advice

Workforce: Nursing vacancies in England and Scotland at record levels

Although the data should be treated with caution, the message is clear: both sides of the England-Scotland border are reporting the highest ever number of nursing vacancies, says workforce expert James Buchan.
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Although the data should be treated with caution, the message is clear: both sides of the England-Scotland border are reporting the highest ever number of nursing vacancies, says workforce expert James Buchan.

Headlines about the soaring number of vacancies in the NHS in England have prompted warnings that the service is facing desperate problems of understaffing.

According to NHS Digital, the number of full-time equivalent posts available rose from 26,424 in March 2016 to 30,613 in March 2017 – the highest number on record. More than 11,000 of these vacancies were for nurses and midwives, about a third of the total.

NHS Digital calculated the rates based on the number of positions advertised on the main NHS recruitment website – NHS Jobs – but stressed that the statistics are a proxy data

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