Nurses’ money worries forcing them to think of quitting
Cost-of-living struggles mean nursing staff are falling into arrears with rent, mortgages and bills with some saying they will need to leave the profession
Almost two thirds of nurses may have thought about leaving the profession in the last 12 months due to the surge in the cost of living, a survey suggests.
In a survey of RCN members, 62% of its 1,000 respondents said they had thought about changing roles due to money worries, while 60% said they have been forced to think of leaving nursing altogether.
Three quarters told the college in Scotland they were financially worse off than a year ago, with 21% saying they had fallen behind with their bills, rent or mortgage payments in the last year. Almost a quarter (23%) said they had skipped meals or gone without food and 60% had used credit cards or savings to pay essential living costs.
‘Numbers of staff quitting nursing altogether could rise even more steeply. That’s a trend health and social care services cannot afford to see’
Colin Poolman, director, RCN Scotland
Meanwhile, 91% reported that financial concerns are affecting their mental health. Almost half (49%) said they are likely to leave nursing in the next five years due to financial reasons.
RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman said: ‘These results are really concerning. I feel for all nursing staff who, at the same time as they try to hold together services under extreme pressure and provide high quality care, are struggling to stay afloat financially.
‘Since the pandemic, we have seen growing numbers of staff quitting nursing altogether. Our results show those numbers could rise even more steeply. That’s a trend health and social care services cannot afford to see, with nursing vacancy rates already at stubbornly high levels.’
Fears of nurse recruitment freeze as NHS employers look to save money
The results come as health boards in Scotland are being asked to make hefty savings. The college fears employers could freeze recruitment in attempts to save money.
Mr Poolman added: ‘While budgets are tight, this is not the time to be pulling resources from the nursing workforce. We believe there are solutions but they require investment now.’
A Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘We are working closely with key partners, including the RCN, to explore what more can be done to attract and retain more people in nursing and midwifery, and will recommend a plan of actions to support longer-term workforce sustainability in due course.
‘The health secretary is meeting trade unions this month to discuss the outcome of the Agenda for Change review.’
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