About 40,000 nursing posts are now vacant in the NHS in England as the service heads for the worst recruitment crisis in its history, according to official new data.
Responses to Freedom of Information requests submitted to trusts by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show that one in nine posts are now unfilled – double the level in 2013.
The data obtained by the RCN also suggests that fewer care providers are now employing registered nurses, raising new fears over patient safety.
Today the RCN’s chief executive and general secretary, Janet Davies, will tell the college’s annual conference that ministers are leaving themselves open to accusations that they are trying to deliver “nursing on the cheap” instead of funding a proper policy for recruiting and retaining registered and experienced staff.
Research in all four countries of the United Kingdom, carried out by ComRes for the RCN, shows that four out of five NHS nursing directors are worried that their hospitals rely on the goodwill of staff to keep services running, while two out of three say the financial pressures of maintaining an adequate service are worsening.
The RCN report also shows that nursing vacancies are increasing in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Full story in The Guardian, 14 May 2017