A pre-election pledge promises to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2024.
The government is celebrating a “fantastic” rise in the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS.
According to official NHS workforce statistics, there are an additional 7,810 doctors and 13,816 nurses working across the NHS in England.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) own document admits that medical students are counted as “Doctors” and former nurses who return to the frontline to assist with the pandemic response are included within these statistics.
In March the government called upon thousands of medical students, student nurses, and recently retired healthcare professionals to help the NHS tackle the increasing workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
50,000 more nurses
The health secretary is touting the figures as a success due to a pre-election pledge to deliver 50,000 more registered nurses by 2024.
Respodingint to the publication of the figures, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “As a nation, we are immensely proud of our health and care staff who work round the clock to keep us safe.
“It is fantastic that there are over 13,700 more nurses and 7,800 more doctors working in our NHS, and by the end of this Parliament we will deliver on our commitment of 50,000 more nurses.
“While this virus remains a perilous threat it is critical that the public observes the restrictions in their area, so our NHS and care staff can continue to do their incredible work. Help us to help you, so the NHS is always there for us in our hour of need.”
The goodwill of nurses.
Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, responded to the statistics; “Whilst seeing more nursing staff is welcome, no one should be mistaken – these figures aren’t a sign that Government strategy is working.
“Government ministers can’t forever rely on the goodwill of recently retired nurses who came back into service, or the goodwill of the students who disrupted their studies to help the efforts against this pandemic.
“This increase, only seen in the past year, must be seen against a backdrop of tens of thousands of nursing vacancies in the NHS. It is dwarfed by further gaps in the social care workforce which has seen nursing numbers fall by around 30% since 2012.”