Vacancy rates for nursing and midwifery posts within the NHS are higher than for any other clinical staff group, according to new statistics.
In March 2018, the latest month for which figures are available, the highest percentage of vacancies was seen in the ‘nursing and midwifery registered’ staff group, which accounted for 40% (11,483 out of 28,998) of vacancy full-time equivalents.
In the first quarter of 2018, from January until March, there were 34,727 vacancy full-time equivalents for nursing and midwifery. This is an increase from the 32,929 vacancies advertised in the same period during 2017, and is the biggest increase of any staff group working within the NHS.
The North West and east of England were the most affected areas, with 5,142 and 4,567 vacancies, respectively.
The data also shows that, over the 12 month period from April 2017 to March 2018, Barts Health NHS Trust was the worst hit organisation, with more than 2,500 vacancies for nurses and midwives.
Chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing Janet Davies said that these figures won’t reflect the true number of nursing vacancies in the NHS, as ‘not all posts are advertised’.
She said: ‘It’s very worrying that the number of vacant posts for nurses and midwives has increased more than those for any other type of clinical staff. We also know that not all vacant nurse jobs are even advertised in the current climate, so these figures will be an underestimate.
‘With the number of applications to nursing degree courses having dropped by almost a third in the two years since the Government removed funding for nursing students, the serious risk is that we will soon see fewer nurses on wards and in the community, not more.’