7th March 2018
The nursing crisis in the UK continues to deepen with latest figures revealing 33,000 nurses left the NHS last year. This means more are quitting their chosen career than are taking it up – a frightening statistic.
A decision to scrap bursaries for nursing students, the Brexit vote, a seemingly permanent struggle for decent pay and an NHS under increasing pressure has nursing staff bearing the full brunt of funding cuts and staff shortages.
It seems rarely a day passes without the NHS crisis stealing the major news headlines and whatever the latest ‘story’ the implications always appear to have the direst of consequences for the nurses on the frontline and the patients they are trying to care for.
Nursing has changed over the years, technology and the way treatments and medications are delivered have developed way past what we might have expected 20 to 30 years ago. But the fundamental core requirement remains the same. Nursing means just what it says, nursing people who need help and support.
Official figures compare various nursing sectors from 2010 to 2017 and while general nursing (+7%), children’s nurses (+10%) and those in midwifery (+11%) have seen an increase in numbers over those seven years, there has been a big drop in nursing staffing levels in other areas.
Nurses working in community services (-11%), district nurses (-45%), school nurses (-19%), those in learning disabilities settings (-38%) and those in mental health settings (-13%) have seen a major decline in numbers – with an astonishing 5,168 fewer nurses in mental health now than in 2010.
This is by far the worst hit sector with specialist courses in mental health, community nursing and learning disabilities now considered no longer viable financially. There is genuine concern about the lack of nurses and the knock-on effect this is already having with the situation only likely to get worse.
Action needs to be taken to stem the flow of qualified nurses leaving the NHS in such high numbers and to encourage more trainees, with a reported 700 fewer nurses starting training last year.
Having to pay £9,000 a year for their training following the bursary cut has not helped recruitment and the nursing profession has to face up to the double threat of qualified nurses quitting and not enough coming through to take their place.
There are fears for the future and not having enough nurses to cover demands of the NHS and of nursing in the community. We have an ageing population which continues to grow and vulnerable people of all ages with special needs, whether physical or mental, whose care has to be met.
It is increasingly important that as many of these people as possible can be cared for at home – freeing up vital places in the NHS.
Here at CLCA, we have an ongoing recruitment programme for nurses as we continue to expand our company and maintain a top quality service to clients. Only the very best pass through our rigorous selection process.
CLCA is playing a vital role in providing nurses to NHS and private hospitals and ensuring the right levels of support for our clients in their own homes. We can only hope the current trend of nurses leaving and trainees not joining can be halted and reversed in the interests of all concerned.