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200,000 nurses have quit the NHS since 2010

The total number of staff leaving the NHS due to a poor work-life balance has more than tripled.

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A ‘staggering’ 163,094 left the NHS for reasons other than retirement.

The Labour Party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, has warned that cuts to professional development budgets and the removal of the NHS student bursary, both under a Conservative Government, have caused a recruitment and retention crisis.

Research conducted by the Labour Party and verified by the House of Commons Library shows that between 2010 and 2018 over 200,000 nurses left the NHS with a staggering 163,094 leaving for reasons ‘other than retirement’.

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Meanwhile, the number of workers who quit for health reasons has doubled and the total number of staff leaving the NHS due to a poor work-life balance has more than tripled.

In the same period, budgets for Continuing Professional Development were been drastically reduced, with just £84m dedicated to workforce development in 2018/19.

Despite these figures, the Department of Health and Social Care claims there are over 15,800 more nurses on wards since 2010.

The Royal College of Nursing claims the “retention crisis” is causing patient care to be routinely compromised.

‘We are facing a retention crisis’.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said; “It’s utterly staggering that our NHS has lost over 200,000 nurses under the Tories and that voluntary resignations from the NHS is up 55 per cent.

“We are facing a retention crisis in our NHS and standards which staff should expect – enshrined in the NHS Constitution – have simply been abandoned.

“After years of pay restraint, cuts to training budgets and growing pressures it is no wonder the NHS is facing chronic shortages of 100,000 staff. These shortages affect patient care every day as waiting lists grow and operations are cancelled.

“A Labour government will invest in NHS staff and help staff develop to meet the challenges of the future. It’s my ambition that the NHS becomes the best employer in the world. It’s not only the correct thing to do to improve the quality of care of patients, it’s in our economic interest as well.”

‘Patient care is compromised’.

The Royal College of Nursing has an ongoing campaign for safe staffing numbers to be enshrined into law.

The unions Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Health and care services are losing thousands of experienced, dedicated nursing staff who feel as if no one is sufficiently listening to their concerns and patient care is routinely compromised by chronic staff shortages.  The RCN is calling for accountability for staffing of safe and effective care to be enshrined in law in England  – at the highest levels – to ensure we have the right numbers of nurses in the right places across health and social care.

“It will be impossible to grow the number of nursing students in higher education, and refresh our workforce, without a clear commitment to addressing supply and a fresh funding of at least £1 billion to replace the existing flawed system. We also need a sustained increase in funding for continuing professional development which must be tailored to ensure nursing staff have the skills they need now and for the future.”

‘15,800 more nurses’.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Our Long Term Plan sets out how we will make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world and ensure it is a consistently great place to work for our dedicated staff.

“There are over 15,800 more nurses on our wards since 2010, with 52,000 more in training – and we are improving staff retention by promoting flexibility, well-being and career development and helping more nurses return to practice.

“As well as providing funding to increase university training places, we will set out a full Workforce Implementation Plan later this year to ensure the NHS has the staff it needs for the future.”

Workforce

Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

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Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

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Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

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Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

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With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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