Nursing shortages require urgent action Health Foundation response to the publication of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, Cost of Living and the Impact on Nursing Labour in NHS Acute Trusts

24 February 2021

Responding to the publication of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, Cost of Living and the Impact on Nursing Labour in NHS Acute Trusts, Professor James Buchan, senior visiting fellow at the Health Foundation, said:

‘The nursing workforce in England is under incredible strain. Over 35,000 nursing posts are vacant and sickness absence rates are high as a result of COVID, with one in 10 hospital nurses reported to be off work in January. This report provides further evidence that the government needs to urgently develop a comprehensive national workforce plan that enables the NHS to recruit and retain nurses where they are needed most.

‘Health Foundation analysis shows that while overall NHS nursing numbers have increased recently, there is significant regional variation in vacancy levels. Furthermore, in some clinical areas there are fewer nurses than there were 10 years ago, in particular in mental health and learning disability services and community nursing. This is hugely concerning as we are now in a situation where the number of people waiting for routine procedures exceeds 4 million and there is growing demand for mental health services, with mental health nursing accounting for a quarter of nursing vacancies.

‘As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, the government must care for those who have cared for us. For nurses, this means ensuring they have attractive pay, career structures and conditions, and flexible approaches to training, development and working life. The NHS’s recovery efforts depend on addressing critical nursing shortages.’

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
creina.lilburne@health.org.uk 
07941 156 827

Further reading

Report

Building the NHS nursing workforce in England

December 2020
Report

The current shortfall of nurses represents a major long-term and growing problem for the NHS. This...

REAL Centre

Project

Nurse supply model

Project

This project aims to enable projections of the future nursing workforce supply in England under...

REAL Centre

You might also like...

Research project

‘Careforce’ neighbourhood mapping – releasing time to care

Research project

This project aims to strengthen and add value to the contribution that analytics bring to improved...

Research project

Sharing adult social care workforce data across London to support operational and strategic commissioning decision-making

Research project

Project aiming to address workforce challenges by increasing the amount and quality of workforce...

Press release

Workforce strategy urgently needed

Press release

Our response to Health and Social Care Select Committee published evidence showing that an...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Universal credit uplift, furlough extension and a rise in corporation tax are all welcome but public services under… https://t.co/o5X4o9zDxp

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more