Urgent need to grow the number of nurses to help ease pressure on NHS workforce
28 November 2019
- NHS Digital have published the latest NHS vacancy statistics.
- They show that total vacancies (2019/20 Q2) are 105,518. This is a drop of around 6,000 from the previous quarter.
- There are 9,319 medical vacancies, giving a current vacancy rate of 7.1%.
- There are 43,593 nursing vacancies, giving a current vacancy rate of 12.1%.
- The sickness absence rate in July 2019 was 4.23%, an increase of 0.22 percentage points (2.9%) since the previous month. This is the highest figure for July in nine years.
Responding to the latest NHS vacancy stats from NHS Digital, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:
“Despite growing recognition that securing the right level of workforce is the number one challenge facing the NHS, these figures show we still need to fill over 105,000 vacancies across the health service.
“Nursing numbers are particularly stretched, and the number of vacancies for these vital roles has remained at around 43,000. It is clear that we are not seeing these vacancy rates fall at the rate we need to.
We urgently need to grow our nursing workforce by providing the training opportunities and support needed to bring more people into the profession and ensure that the NHS is a great place to work for the dedicated staff already in the service and working under severe pressure.Director of Policy and Strategy
“We urgently need to grow our nursing workforce by providing the training opportunities and support needed to bring more people into the profession and ensure that the NHS is a great place to work for the dedicated staff already in the service and working under severe pressure. Expanded recruitment of nursing staff from abroad will also continue to be an essential part of easing this pressure in the short-term.
“It is worrying that behind these figures, we are seeing sickness rates increasing, particularly over the summer months. This is a knock-on impact of the burden on the existing staff of workforce shortages and rapidly growing demand for NHS services. An already difficult winter for the NHS will become even tougher if we see this trend of high sickness absence continue.”