Jeremy Hunt has not grasped the scale of workforce issues

Hunt needs to understand that nurses join the profession to nurse, not because they failed to become doctors

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been remarkably silent on nursing issues over the past few months, despite the profession facing a raft of major – and controversial – changes. He appears to have tinkered with the profession behind the scenes without involving its leaders or even having the decency to be honest and transparent.

He certainly made up for his silence on nursing at last week’s NHS Providers conference in Birmingham.

Mr Hunt talked about encouraging nurses (and doctors) into leadership roles and creating a route to enable nurses to go into advanced practice (“and beyond”). He also announced his plan to fix the nursing workforce shortage with the nurse apprenticeship scheme and said he wanted the Nursing and Midwifery Council to regulate the new nursing associate role.

This plethora of policies at least shows that he realises nursing is important to get right – something I’ve had my doubts about at times – but there are still indications that he doesn’t quite understand the scale of the problem.

See full comment Nursing Times 6 December 2016