latest health care news

02.05.17

NHS facing potential 42,000 nursing shortfall by 2020

The NHS could face a crisis in nursing by 2020, as there may be a shortfall of 42,000 people, around 12% of the profession, according to new research.

In a report released today by the Health Foundation called ‘In Short Supply’, figures in the 2016 NHS Staff Survey were analysed, unearthing fresh concern that staffing levels are insufficient to support nurses to do their job properly.

Pay was also found to be a problem that is likely to worsen in the future, as it was revealed that NHS staff with salaries on pay bands five and above, which includes nurses, will drop by 12% between 2010-11 and 2020-21 in real terms. This is a figure that the Health Foundation believes is set to worsen in the future.

This follows Jeremy Hunt announcing a real terms pay cut at the end of March, a policy that was described as a “bitter blow” to nurses by union the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

During the run up to the general election on 8 June, last week Labour pledged to axe the 1% pay cap for NHS staff in an effort to show the party’s support for health workers – something a number of unions immediately threw their support behind.

According to the Health Foundation’s latest study, a lack of co-ordinated workforce planning was found to be the “Achilles heel of the NHS”, especially in light of the impact Brexit will have on the workforce as the status of European NHS workers remains increasingly uncertain.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Poor workforce planning is one of the key risks facing the NHS.

“We are still not training enough nurses, doing too little to stop nurses leaving, and there seems to be no plan for pay policy following almost a decade of pay restraint. On top of this, the impact of Brexit means that international recruitment – the health service’s usual get out of jail free card for staff shortages – is at risk.”

Charlesworth added that half of nurses didn’t feel that staffing levels were safe, stating that the stress this uncertainty places on nurses is causing many to leave the health service.

The Health Foundation director argued this is something that is making it even harder to provide safe staffing levels and drives a “vicious cycle” which can’t be avoided with short-term solutions.

“Whatever the outcome of the election, the new government will have to finally get a grip of workforce planning in the health service,” she concluded.

Previously, the RCN had warned the government that the union had been forced to pay out £250,000 worth of hardship grants to nurses last year to help staff pay essential expenses like bills.

CEO and secretary of the union Janet Davies said: “It is a sad indictment that a growing number of nursing staff require financial assistance, even those on full-time salaries, simply to cover everyday costs.

“Too many are struggling to make ends meet, with some taking on second jobs or even turning to foodbanks.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.   

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

A clear strategy for change is needed for health and social care

A clear strategy for change is needed for health and social care

Nigel Edwards, CEO at the Nuffield Trust, argues that it would be a lost opportunity if the next government does not seek to put both health and social care funding on a more sustainable footing. more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Hoping for cross-organisational change

21/07/2017Hoping for cross-organisational change

Mark Orchard, president of the Healthcare Financial Management Association ... more >
Making community pharmacy integral to STP solutions

21/07/2017Making community pharmacy integral to STP solutions

James Roach discusses his work with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA)... more >

interviews

A new approach to talent management

25/07/2017A new approach to talent management

Martin Hancock, national lead for talent management at NHS Leadership Acade... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Is it right to label antidepressants ‘a prescription for murder’?

26/07/2017Is it right to label antidepressants ‘a prescription for murder’?

As the stigma about mental health decreases and more come forward to be treated for various illnesses, the number of antidepressants that are prescribed to sufferers will be s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

July 2017

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

editor's comment

13/06/2017Tackling the major challenges facing the NHS

As you will have gathered from the front cover, a theme that runs throughout this edition of NHE is about empowering and involving the workforce in order to deliver innovative change across the system.  Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, highlights on page 16 the importance of sustainability and transformation partnerships/plans (STPs) being implemented and delivered with clinical input at their core.  And the Health Foundation’s... read more >