latest health care news

06.02.18

‘Unimaginable problems’ on the horizon if staffing problems not dealt with

The number of students starting nursing degree courses is expected to fall again this year unless urgent action is taken, according to a report by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The report, ‘Left to chance’, reveals figures from UCAS which show that the number of applications for the next academic year has fallen by a third since the same point in 2016, and by 13% since last year.

This drop in applications comes despite the government’s attempts to boost the number of trainee nurses following the Francis Report five years ago.

In 2015, the government announced changes to the funding of nurse training, including the removal of the student bursary, in an attempt to increase numbers.

Last year ministers repeatedly announced extra nurse training places, but according to the RCN, they are not finding enough students to fill them.

This year the government hoped to attract 1,000 apprentices to the new nursing apprenticeship, but only achieved 30.

The RCN says that urgent action is needed if the government is to prevent the staffing crisis from getting even worse.

The report says that a nationwide government campaign is urgently needed in order to attract the number of student nurses needed in order to increase the numbers going England’s workforce in 2021.

It also calls for the introduction of incentives to encourage people into nursing, including a central funding pot to help with costs and more incentives for post-graduates to convert to nursing.

Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said that the government must do more to make nursing an attractive career.

She warned: “If ministers fail, they are storing up unimaginable problems for the future.

“The staffing crisis must be stopped from spiraling further.”

Davies added: “Extra university places are only worthwhile if they are filled and the NHS gets a newly trained nurse. When it is haemorrhaging so many experienced people, this has never been more important.”

She accused the government of “squandering” the chance to address the issue five years after the warnings and lessons from the Mid Staffordshire report, which she warned makes care failings more likely.

“The government knows that when there aren’t enough nurses, patients can pay the very highest price.

“Nursing is now a graduate profession but it lacks a graduate salary that compensates for the fees paid.

“With fair pay and other incentives, ministers must redouble efforts to get students into nursing courses this year.”

Top image: sturti

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

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Why social prescribing is the future of healthcare

01/04/2020Why social prescribing is the future of healthcare

Jennifer Jones-Rigby, COO at Health Exchange, a social enterprise seeking to shape the design and development of health and wellbeing services in a way that wil... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >