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'Critical shortage' of nurses questioned by MPs

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MPs raised concerns about staff numbers MPs raised concerns about staff numbers

MPs questioned health ministers on the shortage of nurses during health questions in Parliament on 13 October.

Drew Hendry, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathsprey, asked Ben Gummer, the health minister for nursing, whether the Department of Health would continue discussions with the Home Office to overturn the decision to omit nurses from the occupation shortage list. Mr Gummer answered that Trusts had had three years to prepare for this moment. ‘There is a bigger issue at play here, which is that there are five applicants for every nursing place in the UK. That is the position for people wishing to train as a nurse. Our first responsibility is to ensure that we are getting as many people who want to be nurses in this country into a nurse training place,’ he said.

Mr Gummer stated that the number of nurse training places in 2015-16 was level with those in 2010-11 at just over 20,000 for both periods.

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, however, referenced RCN figures that stated that ‘there is a critical shortage of nurses since the early 2000’s’. She said 37,645 students across the UK were turned away from nursing courses in 2014, and that the government needs to ‘drastically to scale up those places to reduce dependency on overseas nursing staff’.

Mr Gummer agreed this was an issue, but said ‘we have near-record numbers of nurses in training and a record number of nurses in practice, and we will continue to see growth over the next five years.’

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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Recruitment is a terrible problem. There are not the students that there were, even for less jobs as we down grade posts for peer workers. We've lost most mature students as they cannot afford to train.
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when nurses have to work 24hour shifts due to no cover and practice nurses have to work over to cover all apps seeing extra every day ,some patients have to wait 4 weeks to see me how have we got enough nurses ??
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There may be that many nurses in training but it takes 3 years to train a nurse. And many are not getting jobs here in the UK but going abroad. How about secondment for them in there chosen field as an extra pair of hands for a year or so?Guaranteed wages not bursary paid for by government therefore helping to ease stress on the wards/ departments/health care settings.
Government needs to wake up to the crisis in the nhs and listen to the people who work at front line nursing. The current workforce is genuinely at a low ebb and many are looking to retire in the next 10 years, loosing many experienced professionals.
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