There are currently 93,806 full-time equivalent vacancies across the NHS in England
A chronic shortage of NHS workers in England is getting worse, experts have warned.
Data published by NHS Digital reveals the extend of the crisis with a massive 93,806 full-time equivalent vacancies across the NHS in England at the end of June this year.
This is up 23% from the 76,082 vacancies at the end of March 2021 and up 13% from the 83,203 recorded at the end of June 2020 and is the highest number of vacancies recorded since the end of December 2019.
Of the 93,806 vacancies, 38,952 of them are for registered nurses. Revealing an increase of 12% from 34,678 at the end of March 2021, and up 3% from the 37,760 at end of June 2020.
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation the group that represents NHS trusts and chief executive of NHS Employers, said NHS employers were very concerned about the “relentless demand” being placed on their teams.
He said; “These figures paint a bleak picture: the NHS is still facing chronic workforce shortages, and they are getting worse, even with recent increases in staff numbers to cover areas such as the vaccination programme.
“Although overall headcount seems to be relatively stable, there is an alarming trend across the NHS of rising levels of vacancies, with the biggest issues in nursing, and especially in acute and mental health posts.
“These posts urgently need to be filled to make sure our communities receive the best care possible, and also to alleviate the strain our teams continue to face, against a backdrop of spiralling workloads and ever-growing backlogs of treatment.”
A very difficult winter.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said that the figures should “stun” ministers into taking urgent action.
Royal College of Nursing England director Patricia Marquis added; “As health and care services head into what will be a very difficult winter, this should stun ministers to address the rising number of nursing vacancies and prevent further risk to patient care.
“After the pressures from the last 18 months we also know that many experienced nurses are considering leaving the profession. These are skills that cannot be replaced quickly.
“Unless there is an urgent investment in the nursing workforce, starting with an increase in pay that reflects their skill and professionalism, and there is accountability for workforce planning at ministerial level, we will be dealing with the fallout for years to come.”