Nurses are “critical to the delivery of health and social care services”.
The NHS “does not have the nurses it needs”, a new report has concluded.
A report by the National Audit Office has revealed that, despite ongoing efforts to boost the healthcare workforce, there are still around 44,000 unfilled nursing posts across the NHS in England.
The report also highlights a “significant reductions” in some key parts of the workforce, including a 38% drop in learning disability nurses since 2010.
It also emphasises how nurses are “critical to the delivery of health and social care services”, which is especially important given rising concerns over Coronavirus.
Earlier this week, only a handful of MPs attended a Parliamentary debate to discuss the recruitment and retention of nurses while a controversial pre-election pledge saw Boris Johnson promise 50,000 more nurses within five years.
Not enough nurses.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is campaigning for a law to ensure accountability in Government and across the system for the health and care staff needed to provide safe and effective care.
Susan Masters, RCN Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice, said: “This report shows we need a proper workforce strategy to address the serious shortage of nurses, which is currently leaving NHS and social care services, and those who rely on them, at risk.
“There simply aren’t enough nurses joining the profession in England to look after the health of the population. Next week’s Budget is the perfect opportunity for the Government to respond to the workforce problems of NHS and social care.
“We are calling for investment to remove financial barriers for nursing students, by paying for tuition fees and providing grants for the real costs of living.
“Until there’s a law clarifying who is responsible and accountable for workforce in Government and throughout the health and care system, patient safety remains at risk”.