UK Nursing
New Govenment Must Double the Number of Nurses
Apr 28, 2005 - 12:44:38 PM

Nurses are still leaving the profession in their thousands, despite the government's high profile recruitment push. The RCN warns that an incoming government will need to put in place measures to double the number of nurses coming into the profession just to maintain existing staffing levels.

The new RCN analysis of the nursing workforce highlights continuing shortages and the impact of the ageing nursing workforce. The analysis will be launched to coincide with the start of the RCN Annual Congress (Sunday 24th April), together with its response to the three main parties manifestos.

A sustained focus on the recruitment and retention of nurses is a key manifesto demand for the RCN. Two thirds of members feel that staffing levels are not high enough to provide good standards of care for patients. The new analysis reveals that 95% of managers had problems with nurse recruitment with little overall change in the level of reported recruitment and retention difficulties since the previous year.[1] Managers also reported continued 'stressful working conditions' and 'heavy or increased workloads' as the most common reasons for nursing staff leaving.[2] Additionally 71% regularly worked more than their contracted hours.[3]

Beverly Malone, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said:

"This election comes one week after our Congress, the largest annual gathering of nurses in the UK who provide the majority of healthcare. There are at least 1,000 nurses in each constituency who all want parties to put the health service first. However all parties must accept that all these improvements depend on the recruitment of qualified nursing staff.

"The current range of policy initiatives has seen staffing growth in recent years yet it's predicted by 2014 we will need twice as many new entrants as we do now just to keep the workforce constant.

2Flexible working hours, access to childcare and guaranteed pension arrangements are also key."

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