Long way to go in addressing nursing shortages
26 January 2018
The health select committee (HSC) has published its nursing workforce inquiry.
Key findings include:
- The nursing workforce needs to be expanded at scale and pace
- Too little attention has been paid to retaining nurses in the NHS
- Cuts to continuing professional development budgets should be reversed
- Further assurances should be given to EU nurses that they will be able to remain in the UK with their families after Brexit
Responding to the committee’s report, the head of analysis at NHS Providers, Phillippa Hentsch, said:
“Our recent workforce report highlighted the depth of concerns in the NHS about staff and skills shortages.
“Today’s report is a further reminder of the difficulties trusts face in recruiting and retaining nurses to ensure the safe high-quality care that patients deserve.
“Trusts are working hard to improve retention rates, but NHS nurses are working in an extremely challenging environment, with many routinely working long hours, often under intolerable pressure.
Trusts are working hard to improve retention rates, but NHS nurses are working in an extremely challenging environment, with many routinely working long hours, often under intolerable pressure.
“Add to these seven years of pay restraint, cuts to funding for professional development, the introduction of more stringent language testing and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit – all making it harder for trusts to recruit and keep the nurses they need.
“And, as the HSC report recognises, these shortages are not confined to hospitals, but also affect mental health and community nurses who were already overstretched, often because of difficulties filling posts and the older workforce in these services nearing retirement.
“The recent draft workforce strategy published by Health Education England – currently out for consultation – marks an important step in starting to address these concerns. But we need to fill gaps in the short term as well as plan for the future. These findings in this report make clear there is a very long way to go.”