Three major health thinktanks have published a joint report calling for a drastic expansion to nursing training in a bid to assuage the shortage of qualified staff in England.
The Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation outlined measures, ranging from providing £5,200 cost-of-living grants to increasing the number of postgraduate trainee positions threefold, in the document.
In the report, which has been named Closing the Gap, the authors warn that unless decisive action is taken then nurse shortages could easily double to 70,000.
The best opportunity to avoid this situation is in the upcoming NHS Workforce Plan, which must reflect the goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, otherwise they will be lost entirely.
A number of bodies have come out in support of the measures outlined in the report, including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
Dame Donna Kinnair, acting chief executive of the RCN, said: “The staggering numbers in this report should cause alarm in Whitehall and focus the minds of ministers on the cash they must put on the table to close the gaps.
“Nursing staff are the first to admit that, despite straining every sinew, the care of their patients is too routinely compromised by these shortages.”
A campaign known as Fund Our Future is being run by student members of RCN and is calling for £1bn of government investment in nurse training.
It says that this is the amount required to encourage enough people into the profession and ensure that future shortages are avoided.
Dame Donna pointed out that this latest report from the thinktanks echoes the argument put forward by Fund Our Future, with more clinical placements also required on top of funding.
Written by James Puckle
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