Demand for nurses and midwives outstripping supply

As reported by Birmingham Mail, the numbers of nurses and midwives in the city – and across the UK – are simply not enough due to rising demand

Birmingham is in a healthcare crisis as the local NHS attempts to recruit enough nurses and midwives.

In March this year, there were 268 FTE nursing and midwifery positions being advertised in the city, according to NHS figures.

That’s an increase of 20% on March 2018.

This issue is by no means limited to Birmingham – across England, 12,262 vacancies were open in March 2019. In 2015, the number was 9,420.

Experts have said that demand continues to outstrip supply, meaning a rise in vacancies despite more nurses joining the NHS.

Emma Broadbent, director of registration and revalidation at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: “These are challenging times for health and social care, with difficulties around recruiting and retaining highly skilled nursing and midwifery professionals having a direct impact on people who deserve safer, better care.

“We recently published our own registration data report that shows a significant increase in the number of highly skilled nurses and midwives coming onto our register, driven from overseas.

“But with demand continuing to outstrip supply, it’s clear we can’t rely on overseas alone.

“Nurturing and cherishing UK trained nurses is absolutely vital if we are to ensure a thriving, sustainable workforce that is fit for the future.

“Working together, we have to set the health and care system on the right path so that people get the safest, best care possible.”

Patricia Marquis, Royal College of Nursing director for England, added: “It’s very worrying to see the number of advertisements for nursing posts growing inexorably every year.

“But the real problem is that there simply aren’t the nurses out there to fill the jobs, so the vacancy rate remains stubbornly high.

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“These damaging and unsustainable shortages will only increase without a firm commitment by Ministers and NHS leaders to sustained investment in the nursing workforce.

“We know too many experienced nurses are leaving the profession because of the stress caused by under-staffing, while too many students are put off studying nursing by the huge debts they will be left with at the end of their training following the removal of the nursing bursary.

“If the long-term plan for the NHS is to be delivered, there needs to be an investment of at least £1billion in nurse higher education in order to boost future numbers in the profession, as well as accountability at the highest level for delivering safe nurse staffing levels.”

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