Nurse increase just a ‘drop in the ocean’

The number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 14,199 compared to last year, NHS workforce figures show. 

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said the number of nurses has increased from 281,619 in June 2019 to 295,818 in June 2020.

The latest UCAS figures, out today (September 24), also show there are record numbers of people accepting a place to study nursing in England, with a 23% increase on the same time last year, which equates to 5,000 more student nurses.

However, UNITE says the increase is a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the number of unfilled roles.

‘It’s good more nurses are now onwards and out in communities, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 40,000 unfilled roles.

‘Ministers could easily turbo-charge recruitment by scrapping student tuition fees and giving staff the early and significant pay rise they deserve.

‘A wage boost would work wonders for frustrated health workers thinking of leaving and the young considering a career in the NHS.’

The DHSC spokesman said the number of doctors has also risen by 9,283, while all professionally qualified clinical staff, paramedics and support to clinical staff are now at record levels.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The NHS is there for us all in our hour of need, and the safety of our health and social care staff that support us day in, day out is my top priority.

‘It is fantastic to see over 14,100 more nurses and over 9,200 more doctors working in the NHS, putting it in the best possible position to continue tackling this global health emergency.

‘With the latest UCAS figures out today showing a record 23% rise in people accepting places on nursing courses in England, we are also well on our way to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.’

The figures for June include some former healthcare professionals who volunteered to return to the frontline during the pandemic.

June figures also show that 649 returners were identified, of which, there are 102 doctors and 165 nurses and health visitors. Not all returners are reflected in the monthly workforce stats as they could have been employed on Fixed Term, Honorary or Bank contracts, or via NHS Professionals.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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