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Nursing shortages will still exist in five years, says health boss

Monday 24th December 2018
A senior NHS official has said the shortfall in nursing numbers is set to last for another five years.
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The current shortage of nurses in the health service is set to last for at least five more years,  chief executive of NHS Improvement (NHSI) Ian Dalton has claimed. 

Speaking in a closed session to senior health service leaders ahead of the publication, Mr Dalton said:  

The comments were noted by Sue Sjuve, of the Surrey Royal County Hospital Trust, in her public report to her board.

Sue Sjuve stated: “[Ian Dalton’s] intention is that by the end of five years, we will be at break even in supply and demand of medical staff, nursing he thinks will be harder, and breakeven will take longer than five years.

"NHSI is working with challenged trusts on retention rates and on international recruitment at scale, and on return to practice, though numbers from that will be relatively small, and training will increase numbers."

The comments by Mr Dalton indicate that there will be extensive opportunities for those seeking nursing posts, either as returnees, newly qualified nurses, workers from overseas or indeed those already working in the NHS who desire a change to a different role. 

Recent figures from NHS recruitment indicated the number of vacancies has fallen slightly, from 41,337 in the first quarter of 2018-19 to 40,877 in the second, reducing the staffing shortfall from 11.7 per cent to 11.6 per cent. However, this is still ten per cent up on a year ago. 

Moreover, the latest official report on the figures stated that the situation was partly due to new graduates coming into the workforce.

The comments by Mr Dalton come after a recent poll by YouGov revealed the majority of the public in England support giving student nurses greater support in order to train more staff.

It also found 71 per cent believe there are not enough nurses to ensure patient safety. 

Written by James Puckle

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