There are now around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies across the NHS in England.
New figures published this week by NHS Digital reveal a further “sharp rise” in the total number of registered nursing vacancies across all areas of England.
As of September 2021, there were just under 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies across the NHS in England – an increase of more than 2,600 on the same time last year.
Almost 26,000 of those gaps are in acute hospitals and over 11,000 in mental health services.
London, with its high cost of living and huge demand on NHS services, remains the area with the most unfilled posts, with nearly 10,000 unfilled vacancies.
The South West saw vacancy numbers rise by an astonishing 31% over the past 12 months.
Health leaders have previously warned a plan must be in place before winter hits as unprecedented NHS waits and A&E attendances mean services are on track for the worst winter on record.
The Royal College of Nursing has said the new figures should act as a wake-up call for MPs.
A wake-up call.
RCN Director for England, Patricia Marquis, said: “These figures, including a sharp rise in the number of nursing vacancies since this time last year, should act as yet another wake-up call to ministers to the reality of the nursing workforce crisis.
“Just days after ministers refused to take responsibility, we learn what is really happening and it gives extra cause for concern.
“We have already seen an increase in the number of nursing staff leaving the profession and many more are considering doing the same.
“Pressures on existing staff are not sustainable and patient care is at risk. In the face of this, opportunities to take responsibility for workforce planning continue to be spurned.
“Government must now show it is committed to building a sustainable domestic nursing workforce and retaining the experienced nurses. This should start by delivering a proper pay rise.”