Saturday, June 25, 2022

The NHS will miss target for 50,000 more nurses by 2024, leaked data shows

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The Government will break Boris Johnson’s key manifesto promise to add 50,000 NHS nurses to the workforce by 2024, leaked data shows.

New NHS modeling seen by LatestPageNewsindicates the government could miss its target by more than 10,000.

It comes despite claims by Health Secretary Sajid Javid in April that the government was on track to deliver on its campaign promise.

NHS England data predicts tens of thousands of nurses will leave the NHS over the next two years as pressure on the workforce leads to a ‘snowball effect’ of staff layoffs.

Nursing union leaders have slammed the government for “a lack of transparency” in the way it measures its efforts and warned that ministers are “burying their heads in the sand” on the nursing crisis.

Leading think tanks have since agreed LatestPageNews that even meeting the 50,000 target may not be enough to meet future NHS demand.

The NHS England forecasts seen by LatestPageNewsshow two possible scenarios: one in which the target is missed by 11,862 full-time nurses and another in which it is missed by 5,715.

The first forecast is based on predictions that more than 7.8 percent of nurses will leave in 2023 and 8.5 percent in 2024, driven by “increased burnout and fatigue”.

The second prediction is based on a hypothesis of 7.4 per cent attrition in 2023 and 7 per cent in 2024, driven by economic issues such as wage pressures and inadequate wage levels in the NHS compared to the broader market.

In March, the health secretary said the government was on track to meet its pledge of 27,000 more nurses work than in September 2019 with 291,000.

However, experts said LatestPageNews that the number could be misleading as it may include the 12,000 employees who have temporarily returned to work during the pandemic. It is not clear how many of these nurses will remain after the transition program ends in September 2022.

Pat Cullen, General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “In the last year alone more than 25,000 registered nurses left the profession in the UK – a sharp increase from 2020-21. Retaining experienced staff is a big one challenge for the ministers.

“Official figures from the NHS showed just weeks ago that the number of vacancies in foster care is rising, not falling. Ministerial boasts always ring hollow.

“The government has not been transparent about how it calculates its figures and ministers are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the scale of the nursing staff crisis – patient safety is at risk. We need a fully funded health and care workforce strategy, not politically meaningful targets.

“The government must give nurses a fair raise to show immediately that they value staff – helping recruit and retain staff and ensuring patients receive the quality of care they deserve.”

A review of NHS pay rates is currently underway. The RCN is calling for a 9 per cent increase in nurses’ pay, while the government has asked its Pay Inspectorate to limit pay rises to 3 per cent.

Prof James Buchan, a senior fellow at the Health Foundation, a charity focused on improving healthcare, said he could not be sure that even hitting the 50,000 target would be enough to meet growing demand in the NHS to satisfy.

He explained that the UK is falling short when it comes to training new nurses and that international recruitment is only a “quick fix”. He added: “Without a national NHS work plan and with just one arbitrary target to aim for, there is no sense of an endgame.”

The Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England have been asked for comment.



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