The incoming government must ensure migration policy is not a barrier to recruiting nurses from abroad Health Foundation response to NHS Vacancy Statistics for England

28 November 2019

Responding to today’s figures, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:

‘Today’s figures are a further reminder of the growing workforce crisis that threatens patient care, with 1 in 8 nursing posts vacant across the NHS. Nurses play a critical role in the health service and without concerted action, the number of unfilled nursing posts could double over the next 5 years. The NHS in England is struggling to train and recruit enough nurses and hospitals are increasingly reliant on unqualified support staff to bridge the gap.

‘The next government needs to ensure that we train more nurses and to do that it will have to address the financial problems that trainee nurses currently face. But training new nurses takes time and over the next few years, international recruitment is the only way to fill the gaps – we will need at least 5,000 nurses from other countries each year for the next 5 years. The incoming government must ensure that migration policy is not a barrier to achieving this.’

Media contact

Simon Perry
020 7257 2093

Further reading

Research report

Falling short: the NHS workforce challenge

November 2019

Our fourth annual report analysing the staff profile and trends in the NHS workforce in England in...


Election briefing: A sustainable workforce

May 2017

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