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Nursing vacancies remain ‘stubbornly high’

Nursing vacancies remain ‘stubbornly high’

The overall number of staff vacancies in the NHS in England has topped 110,000, including 39,652 unfilled nursing roles.

There were as many as 110,192 vacancies across the NHS in England as of December 2021, an increase of more than 20,000 from 89,144 the year before, according to NHS Digital statistics published yesterday.

Patricia Marquis, RCN director for England, called the fact that ‘nursing vacancies remain stubbornly high’ at around 40,000 ‘deeply worrying’. She pointed out that it ‘even harder’ to maintain safe patient care with ‘every job that remains unfilled’.

She added: ‘Staff are exhausted and demoralised after two years of the pandemic and many are considering leaving the profession. The UK Government must address the nursing workforce crisis urgently – starting with fair pay.’

This comes after the RCN criticised the Government for suggesting a pay rise for up to 3% for NHS nurses and healthcare staff in England in 2022/23.

‘Chronic vacancies’

Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive at the NHS Confederation, said there is ‘no escaping the fact’ that services are facing ‘chronic’ workforce shortages despite central efforts recruit and retain more staff.

He said: ‘For the NHS to fully recover from the pandemic, tackle its waiting lists and support its remaining staff, it needs the Government to provide adequate funding for a long-term and sustainable plan for workforce.’

The Government’s recently published elective recovery plan was widely criticised for lacking a workforce plan

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