This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The nursing workforce: in numbers

Written by: | Published:

Workforce shortages are endemic amongst nurses Workforce shortages are endemic amongst nurses, which has a knock-on effect for patients

Almost every country that is part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is increasing the size of their nurse workforce as the population rises – the exception is the UK.1 In England, there has been a NHS staff increase of 7%, but the pattern of investment shows a focus on increasing hospital doctors (15% increase) rather than nurses and health visitors (less than 6% increase). Yet demand is growing. In 2016/17, the amount of health care delivered grew by 23% but the number of full-time equivalent nurses grew by 1%. This is not sustainable, and we can’t expect 1% more nurses to deliver 23% more care. This was the primary message delivered by Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at The Health Foundation, during her keynote presentation at the British Psychological Annual Conference 2019: the numbers just don’t add up.

36,000 vacancies

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

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

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.