MPs ignored twenty-one separate warnings about the nursing workforce crisis

There are around 40,000 unfilled vacancies for registered nurses across the NHS in England alone.

Matt Bodell
17 July 2021
Empty hospital

MPs were so consumed by Brexit that they have ignored a catalogue of warnings.

MPs have ignored twenty-one separate warnings about a nursing workforce crisis over the past decade, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

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According to the College, MPs were so consumed about Brexit that they have ignored a catalogue of warnings about a nursing workforce.

Currently, there are around 40,000 unfilled vacancies for registered nurses across the NHS in England alone. This figure could be as high as 80,000 if you combine vaccines in health and social care across the four nations.

The union is now stepping up demands to make the Health Secretary fully accountable for the planning and supply of the health and care workforce.

They have suggested some major modifications to the impending Health and Social Care Bill including a senior nurse sits on the board of the new regional health and social care organisations and the publication of a regular workforce needs analysis.

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Consumed by Brexit.

RCN acting General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “While Westminster was consumed by Brexit after 2016, there were more than 20 missed warnings given to ministers about the state of health and care staffing.

“New legislation this year has to resolve this gross oversight compromising patient safety, once and for all.

“With ministers gambling on lifting COVID-19 restrictions and NHS waiting lists apparently set to soar to up to 13 million, the public cannot be put at risk a moment longer.

“We went into this pandemic with almost 50,000 nursing vacancies in the UK – and the true scale of the shortage is unknown. The Government has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fix this problem and help a severely depleted workforce.

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“If it doesn’t take this opportunity, it won’t even have the capacity to deliver the law as it is currently set out.”

Healthcare leaders are increasingly concerned about how the nursing workforce shortage is going to directly affect patient care as the NHS struggles under current pressures.

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