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Experts predict a shortfall of 350,000 NHS staff by 2030

The report claims that the recruitment and retention crisis is the ‘greatest threat to the health service’.

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A joint report by three health think-tanks has predicted a shortfall of 350,000 NHS staff by 2030.

The joint report by the by the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation has warned that the NHS could be short of 350,000 staff by 2030 if it continues on its current path.

The report claims that the recruitment and retention crisis is the ‘greatest threat to the health service’ adding; “If the emerging trend of staff leaving the workforce early continues and the pipeline of newly trained staff and international recruits does not rise sufficiently, this number could be more than 350,000 by 2030,”

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All three organisations warn that failing to tackle the staffing shortfall risks making the NHS long-term plan ‘unachievable’ – despite the promise of a £20.5 billion increase in the annual NHS budget by 2023.

Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, previously told the HSJ he is ‘increasingly worried’ about the shortage of nurses, GPs and mental health staff.

‘Patient care is already being affected’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The NHS cannot function on a skeleton staff – the number of missing professionals must not be allowed to soar to this level. The Government cannot ignore this warning from leading independent experts. Long before we get to 2030, patient care is already being affected by the shortage of nurses – people waiting ever-longer for life-changing surgery or for a bed to become free.

“If next month’s NHS ten-year plan is to be genuinely forward-looking and more than a wish list, the nursing shortage must be addressed. Funding nurse higher education is key to this – the Government and NHS England must invest at least £1 billion in nursing higher education to attract and support the nurses we need to keep patients safe. The Government’s earlier plan to increase nursing applications by scrapping the bursary has categorically failed – 1,800 fewer people have been accepted onto courses.

“In this report, experts from three leading health organisations echo our call for a properly-funded workforce plan that responds to population need and is underpinned by legislation that holds decision-makers to account for safe and effective staffing levels. This must be drawn up urgently.”

‘Poor working conditions’.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health for UNISON, said: “This briefing reminds us all of the damage inflicted on the NHS by the repeated failure to plan, fund and support the health and care workforce.

“Instead of investing in staffing, ministers introduced restrictive immigration policies and cut training budgets, all of which end up costing the NHS more than necessary in the long term.  Even potential solutions such as using apprenticeship routes to boost future nurse numbers are made unmanageable due to cumbersome government regulations and processes.

“Despite the truly alarming turnover due to poor working conditions in the social care sector, workers continue to be ignored and exploited.

“If ministers are serious about securing the future of the NHS, they should invest in apprenticeships, identify the skills and training needed in social care and make professional development an option for all across health and social care.”

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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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