Nursing workforce

Our response to Health Select Committee inquiry

26 January 2018

We submitted written evidence to the Health Select Committee to inform on what is a key area of interest and expertise for the Health Foundation.

In our response, we outline the shortage in NHS nurse numbers and review the government's move away from a bursary system to the standard student loan system, reflecting on the long running cap on the number of available nurse training places.

We discuss the need to focus on the productivity of nurses and the role of nurses in the productivity of the wider workforce, while emphasising the significant variation in retention rates across the NHS, explaining that more effort should go into reducing variation and supporting those with the highest turnover rates.

We highlight our analysis on EU nurse workforce numbers, in particular the 96% fall in applicants to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register between July 2016 and April 2017. 

We conclude by reiterating the need for a workforce strategy that addresses training, pay, career structures, recruitment and retention together, giving consideration to the long-term impact of policy changes.

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