Remedy Nursing | Where will the ‘Army of Nurses’ come from?
With the NHS staffing crises in fall swing, the promises of new recruitment strategies and funding are coming thick and fast from the Jeremy Hunt and the Tory government. With the number of full-time equivalent posts available rose from 26,424 in March 2016 to 30,613 in March 2017 – the highest number on record, it is clear that something needs to be done before it is too late for the NHS.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently announced plans to ‘recruit an army of nurses’ with plans to introduce 10,000 extra training places by 2020, specifically for home-grown nurses. As part of this plan, the government wants many of the introduced training places to go to students from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to improve the diversity of the medical sector.
The extra training places in England will also mean approximately 7,500 home-grown doctors should graduate each year. At present around a quarter of doctors within the NHS alone, trained outside the UK.
This figure has worried many, as there are concerns that the impact of Brexit, and the global shortage of medical staff could make it harder to recruit in the future and create a further staff shortage. The pressure on the NHS at present has already forced some UK trained medics to leave the country to work elsewhere.
So where shall this ‘army of nurses’ come from? With the abolition of nursing bursaries university application for nursing courses are at an all-time low, and with the full effects of Brexit beginning to take place we are seeing fewer applications from nurses across the EU.
The current feeling between nurses is that the Health secretary will fail to recruit this ‘army’ due to their lack in maintaining their current workforce. As we fast approach the RCN pay protest at Parliament Square, September 6th, it is clear that the government already faces the momentous task of gaining back the confidence of its nurses and helping improve their quality of life after years of pay cuts, caps and poor conditions.