Frontline nursing an 'easy target for cuts' as staff numbers continue to drop (National Health Executive: 1st March 2018)

The number of nurses and health visitors across the NHS in England has dropped by over 400 people. Sector leaders feel this decline reflects how frontline nursing has become an "easy target for cuts".

At a time when the government is actively trying to boost workforce numbers to tackle high rates of vacancies across the country, the lates figures from NHS Digital show that the opposite has been happening. Since 2016, the nursing and health visitor workforce has shrunk to 284,000 FTE, a drop of 435 people.

There was also a decrease of 0.2% across the nursing workforce within GP practices, with 27 less staff working in the NHS now than in 2016

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, argued the latest statistics are a worrying sign that the number of nurses continues to slide - and they have also come just a day after a major survey revealed public satisfaction with the NHS is dwindling due to staffing worries.

"It feels to frontline nursing staff that, in a cash-strapped NHS, they have become an easy target for cuts. It will be galling when they see senior management burgeoning too - now officially the fastest growing part of the NHS", she commented. more


Operations cancelled by hospitals due to staff shortages as snow hits UK (Metro: 28th February 2018)

Hospital trusts have reported that operations and appointments across the UK have been cancelled because there are not enough staff available.

At Pilgrim Hospital in Lincolnshire, all planned and non-urgent children's operations have been cancelled. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said that the cancellations are due to a national shortage of staff specialising in children and not enough inpatient beds.

Director of nursing, Michelle Rhodes, said: "There is a national shortage of appropriately trained nurses and doctors, particularly A&E and paediatric staff and ULHT is seriously affected by this".

Bosses hoped that nurses would be free to work in the A&E department if they cancelled operations. This process has become overstretched as the country faces plummeting temperatures and extreme weather. more


One in 11 posts unfilled in the NHS in England (The Guardian: 21st February 2018)

One in 11 posts in NHS England are currently unfilled, equivalent to almost 100,000 vacancies, official figures show.

The number of vacancies was published for the first time in NHS Improvement’s quarterly performance report for the three months ending 31 December. Released on Wednesday, the report warns that staff shortages are affecting performance.

The high number of unfilled posts has coincided with the NHS coming under immense pressure, with 250,000 more people visiting A&E than in the equivalent three-month period in 2016.

NHS providers reported a year-to-date deficit of £1.3bn, moving NHS Improvement to revise its estimate of the year-end deficit to £931m, 88% worse than planned.

Saffron Cordery, NHS Providers’ director of policy and strategy, said: “These figures show how the NHS has been pushed to the limit.

“Despite working at full stretch with around 100,000 vacancies and a real risk of staff burnout, and despite treating 6% more emergency patients year on year in December, trusts cannot close the gap between what they are being asked to deliver and the funding available. more


Delays in handover of 150,000 patients to A&E due to winter pressures (National Health Executive: 19th February 2018)

According to the latest figures from NHS England, almost 150,000 ambulance patients have had to wait over half an hour before being admitted to A&E this winter.

Reports show that between 20 November 2017 and 11 February 2018 over 114,000 patients waited between 30 and 60 minutes before being handed over to NHS staff. Meanwhile over 35,000 people waited over an hour before they were transferred.

Bed occupancy has stayed consistently over 94% this winter, which is well above the recommended safe levels of 85%.

Director of policy for the King’s Fund, Richard Murray, said that the data shows that the NHS is under “significant pressure.”

He said, “the proportion of people being seen in four hours in hospital A&E units is now at its lowest level for more than a decade, the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments has reached a new high, and hospital bed occupancy remains well above recommended levels”.  

Murray praised the staff’s efforts throughout a difficult winter, but added: “Staff cannot be expected to continue absorbing this pressure indefinitely – a sustainable funding settlement and new workforce strategy are urgently needed”. more


Huge fall in NHS community nurses hits the North-East (Gazette Live: 18th February 2018)

Exclusive figures have revealed that the number of NHS community health nurses has dropped by 600 since the Conservatives came into power.

In 2010 there were 3,011 full-time equivalent community nursing roles but only 2,393 in 2017. This shows a fall of more than 20%, adding even more pressure on the NHS.

In response to the figures, the Government admitted that it is an “urgent” requirement to boost these numbers.

GP committee chair for the British Medical Association, Dr Richard Vautrey, said community nurses provide valuable healthcare services working with practices, supporting GPs and in people’s homes.

He added: “Any reduction in their numbers is a big concern, not only for its potential knock-on effect for practices already struggling with unmanageable workloads, but particularly for those patients who depend on their support to help manage their conditions at home and avoid visiting hospitals. more


Secretaries asked to help nurses at Grimsby hospital (Grimsby Telegraph: 16th February 2018)

Secretaries and admin staff were drafted in to help on ward duties at Grimsby hospital after being hit with a staffing crisis.

After being hit by a combination of staff sickness and ward closures, the managers at Diana, Princess of Wales hospital had to put out an appeal for help.

As a result, clerical and admin staff volunteered to take on duties that would allow remaining nurses to focus on patients.

The hospital has insisted the staff were there to “help ease the pressure on our clinical staff”. The staff said that their tasks included making cups of tea, changing beds, taking food orders and collecting drugs from the pharmacy. more


Jeremy Hunt: NHS winter crisis is 'worst ever' (ITV News: 8th February 2018)

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that the NHS is experiencing "probably the worst" winter crisis ever "in terms of pressures on the system".

Hunt added that the current situation in the service is "not sustainable" and that it would "not be fair" if doctors and nurses faced similar pressures to 2017/2018 every year.

His comments came after figures showed that A&E departments suffered their second-worst month on record in January.

He said that "significantly more" money would need to be spent on the NHS over the next decade to ensure the country could cope with increased demand.

"In ten years time we'll have a million more over-75s in this country and we want to be able to promise the British people that every single older person is going to be treated with the highest standard of dignity and respect." more


Hundreds of NHS staff forcibly moved to a private company, says UNISON (Nursing Notes: 7 February 2018)

Moving 350 NHS staff into a Trust-owned private company has put Yeovil hospital in breach of licence, public service union UNISON has set out.

In a letter to NHS regulators, UNISON argues the Trust’s decisions must be investigated.

Writing to NHS Improvement, UNISON set out Yeovil hospital’s failure to comply with the licencing requirement to have due regard for the NHS Constitution. The Constitution, which establishes what NHS patients and staff can expect from the service, states that NHS Trusts must “engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide” more


Number of GPs drops by 1,193 (BBC News: 3 February 2018)        

According to NHS Digital, there were 33,302 GPs in England by October 2017 and 34,495 the year before. The numbers show a drop by 1,193 compared to a drop of 97 the year before.

Despite the government committing to provide an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020, GPs are leaving the profession at an increasing rate due to feeling "undervalued".

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA GPs committee, said: "This is a crisis which we've been pointing out for a number of years." He said the BMA is often contacted by GPs from across the country who worry about their workload pressures.

Dr Charlotte Ferriday quit her GP partnership in Devon in 2015 due to feeling burnt out by her job. She said: "I woke up one Monday morning and I couldn't get out of bed, for six weeks it was difficult to leave the house and it was catastrophic".

She added: "I found it was increasingly difficult to do the job because I didn't have the resources and services that supported my patients”. more


 Nursing vacancies reach new high of almost 35,000 (iNews: 23rd January 2018)

Official figures show that the number of nursing vacancies has increased by 2,600 on the previous quarter, hitting a new record of 34,360.

The number of vacancies reveals the issue of a staffing crisis, as RCN general secretary Janet Davies states: “the next generation of British nurses has been deterred by the current whirlwind tearing through the NHS – record pressure, lack of funding and poor pay for staff”.

New statistics are yet to come, as the winter pressure have the potential to push the number of vacancies higher. Unison’s head of health, Sarah Gorton, said: “These shocking vacancy rates show that health workers are being pushed to their limits.”

The government planned to boost numbers of home-grown NHS staff, as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a 25 percent increase in the number of nurse training places. As of December 2017, figures showed a decrease of 0.9 percent in the number of students accepted on to nursing in higher education. more


33,000 nurses leave the NHS each year (BBC News: 17th January 2018)                 

Figures show that one in 10 nurses now leave the NHS in England each year.

Last year more than 33,000 walked away, adding pressure on hospitals with staff shortages.

According to NHS Digital, these figures represent a rise of 20% since 2012-13, meaning there are now more people who leave than join.

Despite NHS bosses saying the problem was being tackled, nurse leaders have said it was a "dangerous and downward spiral". Royal College of Nursing head Janet Davies said: "The next generation of British nurses aren't coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving."

One of many nurses leaving the profession is Mary Trevelyan. She quit after working for two-and-a-half years due to stress and depression.

She said: "I want to be a great nurse and I want to give my patients my best, but I feel that I can't do that at the moment because we're just too short-staffed, too busy, there are far too many things for us to be doing”. more


Cancer patients could be harmed by NHS staff shortages (National Health Executive: 11th January 2018)

A leaked memo for Churchill Hospital in Oxford suggests that patients could face delays in chemotherapy due to cancer workforce shortages.

Chief Executive of Cancer Research, Harpal Kumar, says that staff shortages have been an ongoing problem over the past three years and the government are yet to tackle the issue.

“It’s totally unacceptable that these shortages could lead to delays in patients getting cancer treatment” He said.

The report suggests a concern for future cancer patients, as Kumar estimates an extra 150,000 people to be diagnosed every year by 2035. He says: “We need to see concrete action on the recent plan by Health Education England to tackle NHS staff shortages, the issue will not go away without decisive action." more


5th of EU doctors plan to leave the UK and the NHS ‘will not be able to cope’. (National Health Executive: 14th November 2017)                                        

Almost a fifth of EU doctors have made plans to leave the UK following the Brexit referendum, a survey by the BMA has found.

Currently EU workers make up around 7.7% of UK doctors, and many more work in public health and academic medicine.

But almost half of those surveyed said that they were considering leaving the UK following the referendum, and 29% said that they were unsure about whether their future remained in the UK.

When asked the reason that they were considering leaving the UK, the top three reasons cited were Brexit, negative attitudes towards EU workers and uncertainty over future immigration rules.

BMA treasurer Dr. Andrew Dearden called this revelation “a real concern,” and argued that the NHS “would not be able to cope” without its EU doctors.

“We need clarity on what the future holds for EU citizens and their families living in the UK, and an end to the uncertainty and insecurity that could see many voting with their feet,” he added

...see more


Understaffed nursing workforce spikes public concern.  (National Health Executive: 25th October 2017)

The majority of the public believe that NHS nurses are underpaid and that there are not enough staff, according to a new YouGov poll.

The news comes as members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) hold a demonstration outside parliament to protest the 1% public sector pay cap.

Although Jeremy Hunt has previously confirmed the policy will come to an end next year, nurses are concerned about the lack of detail and clear dates for the implementation of the plans.

The union has called on government to lift the cap in the Autumn Budget, claiming it causes serious understaffing problems and stops organisations from retaining staff.

The survey, undertaken by YouGov on behalf of the RCN, found that seven in 10 people believe there are not enough nurses employed by the NHS, while 68% are concerned that nurses are underpaid

...see more


NHS maternity wards in England forced to close 382 times last year (The Guardian: 8th August 2017)

Maternity wards in England were forced to close their doors 382 times in 2016, according to new figures that have triggered claims of women being “pushed from pillar to post in the throes of labour”.

Campaigners warned that expectant mothers could be left in fear of giving birth at the roadside after a wide-reaching freedom of information request found a 70% increase in the number of maternity ward closures over two years.

Research by the Labour party found that 42 hospital trusts had been forced to shut their doors at some point over the last year – 44% of those who responded – with many blaming staff shortages and bed and cot capacity.

Fourteen of them admitted they had shut down more than 10 times, with some taking more than 24 hours to reopen.

In total, there were 382 occasions when units had to close in 2016. This figure is slightly higher than the 375 occasions from the year before, and an almost 70% increase on the 225 in 2014.

The findings triggered an immediate response from campaign groups, who pointed to the government’s own maternity policy, which says there should be enough midwives to prevent this happening.

Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser at NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, said: “It’s appalling that a shortage of midwives and equipment means that so many units have been closed time and again so that pregnant women are pushed from pillar to post in the throes of labour.”... read more


Royal College of GPs warn profession could reach 'breaking point' (The Guardian: 31st July 2017)

A government pledge to increase GP numbers by 5,000 within three years is falling short amid fears the profession “could reach breaking point”, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has warned.

The RCGP’s annual report on plans to improve GP services in England raises concern that many doctors are yet to observe significant changes in GP numbers under the recruitment drive, with GP numbers having fallen since September 2016.

A survey of GPs for the report found that 39% think they are unlikely to be working in the profession in England in five years’ time.

The professional body for family doctors in the UK said the findings sparked fears the profession “could reach breaking point” unless progress on the shake-up was accelerated.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said: “It takes at least three years in speciality training for new doctors to enter the workforce as independent consultant GPs, so while it’s fantastic that more foundation doctors are choosing general practice this year, if more people are leaving the profession than entering it, we’re fighting a losing battle.

“Above all else we need to see efforts stepped up to keep hard-working, experienced GPs in the profession, and the best way to do this is to tackle workload pressures and improve the conditions under which all GPs and our teams are working.... read more


Labour demands inquiry into privatisation of NHS-owned recruiter (The Guardian: 27th July 2017)

Labour is demanding an inquiry into the privatisation of a government-owned NHS recruitment firm that saves hospitals £70m a year.

NHS Professionals helps the health service in England tackle its staffing crisis by arranging for doctors and nurses on its books to cover potentially harmful gaps in rotas.

Labour has asked the National Audit Office to look into why Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is selling a profitable and effective company his Department of Health owns. The firm should be kept in public hands and allowed to continue playing a key role in alleviating widespread NHS understaffing, the party says.

Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, has written to Sir Amyas Morse, the comptroller and auditor general who heads up Whitehall’s spending watchdog, asking him to intervene before a sale is finalised, possibly as soon as next month.

“On the government’s own estimates NHSP saves the taxpayer around £70m a year by organising last-minute or replacement staffing for NHS trusts in England, and ensuring hospitals don’t have to rely on expensive private agencies”, Madders writes.

He wants the NAO to “examine the business case that has been produced [by the DH] to ascertain a better understanding of what additionality the private sector can bring to what on the face of it is already a successful organisation.”

NHSP supplies staff cheaper than those obtained through private agencies which Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has castigated for charging “rip-off” rates.... read more


Soaring NHS vacancies prompt warnings of 'desperate' understaffing (The Guardian: 25th July 2017)

The number of vacancies in the NHS has soared by 15.8% over the last year, prompting warnings that the service is facing “desperate” problems of understaffing.

Figures for England released on Tuesday by NHS Digital show that the number of full-time equivalent posts available rose from 26,424 in March 2016 to 30,613 in March 2017 – the highest number on record.

A total of 86,035 such positions were advertised in the first quarter of this year, underlining the large number of health professionals and other staff that NHS trusts are seeking to fill.

However, NHS staff groups said the figures were a serious underestimate of the true number of vacancies, while NHS Digital itself admitted that they were undercounting, especially for nurses. The data also did not cover staff employed by GP surgeries, such as practice more


NHS England 'urgently needs 2,200 more A&E consultants' (19th July 2017)

Hospitals are being urged to urgently more than double the number of consultants on duty in A&E units in order to ensure that patients receive safe care. The NHS in England must recruit 2,200 extra A&E consultants in the next five years, more than the 1,632 who already work there, according to the body representing emergency medicine doctors.

The increase is needed to help the NHS avoid the sort of winter crisis that occurred last winter and to stop A&E doctors quitting due to burnout, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) claims. Dr Taj Hassan, the college’s president, said the costs of such a dramatic rise could be covered by redirecting the £400m a year hospitals currently have to spend on locum and agency A&E doctors as a result of understaffing.

“It is vital that we get our staffing right. Each emergency medicine consultant in England is responsible for around 10,000 patients a year. Our staff are working to the very limits of their abilities to provide safe, compassionate care. This is leading to burnout and doctors leaving the profession, creating a vicious circle,” said Hassan, a consultant in Leeds... read more


NHS staff shortages to blame for big rise in cancelled operations on children and young people, Labour warns (The Independent: 17th July 2017)

Operations on children and young people are being cancelled in huge numbers as NHS staff shortages bite, Labour reveals today.

More than 12,000 procedures – including for broken bones and treatments under anaesthetic – were scrapped last year, a rise of 35 per cent in just three years, the party said.

A lack of available anaesthetists, surgeons, consultants or theatre staff, as well as bed shortages and a lack of theatre time, were key reasons given by health bodies for the cancellations.

Labour’s research had uncovered 12,349 cancellations of surgical procedures planned for children and young people in 2016-17, across 76 health trusts, Mr Ashworth said.

This was 35 per cent higher than in 2013-14, when 9,128 cancellations were recorded, he said.

The total number of cancelled children’s operations since 2013-14 was 46,211 – with by far the highest number in London at 12,904.... read more


NHS faces staff crisis as student nurse applications plummet after Tories scrapped their grants (The Mirror: 13th July 2017)

Nursing leaders today warn the NHS faces a staffing crisis after figures showed a sharp fall in applications for training places.

The number applying to be student nurses has dropped from 65,620 to 53,010 - a fall of 12,610 on last year.

The fall comes after the Government axed student bursaries for trainee nurses and midwives.

From this September they have to take out loans to cover living costs and £9,000 a year fees.

The Royal College of Nursing said the figures case doubt on the ability to train enough nurses to fill the 40,000 vacant nurse posts in England.

The figure by the university applications service UCAS showed applications in England for student nursing places were down 23% in England.

There was also a 28% fall in the number of people aged 25 and over applying and a 27% fall in number of male applicants.... read more


More nurses and midwives leaving UK profession than joining, figures reveal (The Guardian: 3rd July 2017)

More midwives and nurses are leaving the profession in the UK than joining for the first time on record, with the number departing having risen by 51% in just four years.

The figures, which will add to concerns about NHS staff shortages, show that 20% more people left the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register than joined it in 2016/17. The overall number of leavers was 34,941, compared with 23,087 in 2012/13.

While concerns have previously been raised about a large drop in EU registrants in the wake of the Brexit vote, the NMC figures, published on Monday, show that it is the departure of UK nurses – who make up 85% of the register – that is having the biggest impact. In 2016/17, 29,434 UK nurses and midwives left the register, up from 19,818 in 2012/13, and 45% more UK registrants left than joined last year.

Unions say there is a shortage of 40,000 nurses and 3,500 midwives in England alone and they, and NHS trusts, blamed the pay cap and workplace more


Doctors ‘horrified’ by STP staff costs (BMA: 27th June 2017)

A vast cohort of operations managers, communications executives, administrators and financial analysts has been created to drive forward controversial STPs (sustainability and transformation plans) – taking millions of pounds out of the frontline NHS.

A BMA News investigation has revealed that health leaders have created more than 150 jobs, with annual salaries of at least £8.5m, despite funding on the front line being scarcer than ever before.

In some areas new roles have been created for external applicants – but some STPs are using costly agency staff or seconding senior staff from other NHS organisations. One ‘financial lead’ bills the NHS for a pro-rata salary of nearly £500,000.

The investigation has also revealed a major disparity in the processes being carried out across the more


Incidences of rota gaps surge (BMA: 26th June 2017)

Around two-thirds of hospital doctors have experienced rota gaps in the last 12 months, a new survey has found.

The BMA quarterly survey also found that 65 per cent of hospital doctors and 48 per cent of GPs reported vacancies in their departments and practices.

Speaking at this year’s annual representative meeting in Bournemouth today, BMA council chair Mark Porter warned that workforce shortages, along with financial underinvestment, were critically affecting staff morale and patient care.

Dr Porter, who told the conference that the NHS was now effectively ‘running on fumes’, said that the Government had to stop passing the buck and engage in finding solutions to the challenges facing the health service.

He said: ‘We still have one of the best healthcare systems the world. It treats more patients than ever before, and deploys treatments of which I could only have dreamt when I qualified as a doctor.

‘But after years of underinvestment, with a growing, ageing population, and despite the extraordinary dedication of its staff, it is failing too many people, too often.’... Read more


96% drop in EU nurses registering to work in Britain since Brexit vote (The Guardian, 12th June 2017)

The number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK has dropped by 96% less than a year after the Brexit vote, official figures show.

Last July, 1,304 EU nurses came to work in the UK; this fell to just 46 in April, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) statistics show.

The Health Foundation, which obtained the figures via a freedom of information request, said there was a shortage of 30,000 nurses in England alone, adding that the NHS could not afford such a drop.

Anita Charlesworth, the charity’s director of research and economics, said: “Without EU nurses it will be even harder for the NHS and other employers to find the staff they need to provide safe patient care. The findings should be a wake-up call to politicians and health service leaders.

“Clearly, action is needed to offset any further loss of EU nursing staff in the near future. But the overall shortage of 30,000 nurses is not a shortage caused by the Brexit vote. The chronic shortage of nurses is the result of years of short-term planning and cuts to training places. A sustainable, long-term approach to workforce planning is desperately needed.”... Read more


NHS pay cap 'must be lifted' (BBC News: 8th May 2017)

The pay cap on NHS staff must be lifted because it puts patient safety at risk, NHS bosses say.

NHS Providers said the cap, which limits pay rises to 1% a year to 2019, was causing severe recruitment and retention problems in England.

The body, which represents NHS trusts in England, said the next government must look at the issue immediately.

Labour says it would look to increase pay, but the Tories and Lib Dems have not yet set out any pay plans.

Labour wants to increase pay so it better reflects the cost of living, but has not said by how much.

Over the weekend the Lib Dems did announce they would increase income tax by a penny-in-the-pound to boost investment in the NHS....Read more


Nurses will see their pay ‘cut by 12% over a decade’ (The Guardian: 29th April 2017)

workers will have had their pay cut by 12% by the end of the decade because of a government-imposed wage restraint that is now exacerbating chronic understaffing, new research reveals.

The 625,000 health service staff who earn at least £22,000 will have seen their income fall by 12% between 2010-11 and 2020-21 as a result of years of below-inflation 0% and 1% pay rises eroding their spending power, according to a report by the Health Foundation thinktank

The real-terms drop in pay will hit NHS personnel across the UK who are on band five or above in the service’s pay scales, which includes all 315,000 nurses. The Royal College of Nursing’s 270,000 members are currently being polled on whether they should strike – for the first time in their history – in protest at the government holding down their pay by limiting rises to 1% every year until 2020.

Staff salaries have already been cut by 6% since the coalition came to power in 2010, more than the 2% seen across the economy as a whole in that time, the report found. Midwives have seen their pay shrink by 6%, but doctors and health visitors have been hit by 8% and 12% drops more


Children's hospital units forced to close to new patients due to staff shortages (The Guardian: 18th April 2017)

Hospital units that treat children and very sick babies are having to shut their doors temporarily to new patients because they are “dangerously” short of specialist staff, a new report reveals.

Widespread shortages of paediatric doctors and nurses also means that the care children receive is being put at risk, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

A chronic lack of staff is forcing doctors to take potentially life or death decisions about which patients to treat quickly, one paediatrician said. “Last night we only had one registrar instead of two. We had an emergency in A&E and [the] labour ward at the same time and she had to make a snap decision which to go to. It’s being forced to dice with death,” said the medic, who asked to remain anonymous.

Another paediatrician said: “It’s becoming normal to do the work of two or three so corners are constantly being cut and kids don’t get the time and attention they deserve.” more


NHS facing potential 42,000 nursing shortfall by 2020 (National Health Executive: 2nd May 2017)

The NHS could face a crisis in nursing by 2020, as there may be a shortfall of 42,000 people, around 12% of the profession, according to new research.

In a report released today by the Health Foundation called ‘In Short Supply’, figures in the 2016 NHS Staff Survey were analysed, unearthing fresh concern that staffing levels are insufficient to support nurses to do their job properly.

Pay was also found to be a problem that is likely to worsen in the future, as it was revealed that NHS staff with salaries on pay bands five and above, which includes nurses, will drop by 12% between 2010-11 and 2020-21 in real terms. This is a figure that the Health Foundation believes is set to worsen in the future.

This follows Jeremy Hunt announcing a real terms pay cut at the end of March, a policy that was described as a “bitter blow” to nurses by union the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

During the run up to the general election on 8 June, last week Labour pledged to axe the 1% pay cap for NHS staff in an effort to show the party’s support for health workers – something a number of unions immediately threw their support more


NHS England has made ‘no progress’ on increasing GP numbers, says PAC (National Health Executive: 27th April 2017)

There has been “no progress” made by NHS England on increasing the number of GPs despite NHS England targets to train 5,000 more doctors by 2020, MPs have today warned.

In its ‘Access to General Practice: progress review’ report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that since its last report a year ago, at the time when the GP Forward View was developed, little had been done to actually deliver the ambitions set out in the strategy.

This follows figures that showed the number of doctors in general practice had actually fallen between March 2016 and September 2016, contrary to the strategy’s plans. 

PAC stated: “The number of GPs has fallen in the last year, from 34,592 full-time equivalent doctors in September 2015 to 34,495 in September 2016.

“Increasing this number relies on both increasing the recruitment of trainees and improving the retention of the existing workforce, but Health Education England still lacks a credible plan for ensuring that there are enough GPs and that they are in the right areas.

“Health Education England accepted that more could be done to promote general practice as a career choice, and highlighted work underway to make training options more flexible. NHS England added it has a development programme in place to tackle workload in general practice.”

On top of this, the committee raised concern that patient outcomes were being affected due to GP services being closed at core more


Social care system 'beginning to collapse' as 900 carers quit every day (BBC: 11th April 2017)

More than 900 adult social care workers a day quit their job in England last year, new figures reveal.

Service providers warn that growing staff shortages mean vulnerable people are receiving poorer levels of care.

In a letter to the prime minister, the chairman of the UK Homecare Association said the adult social care system - which applies to those over the age of 18 - has begun to collapse.

The government said an extra £2bn is being invested in the system.

An ageing population means demand is increasing for adult social care services.

Those who provide care to people directly in their own homes, or in nursing homes, say a growing shortage of staff means people face receiving deteriorating levels of care.

"You just can't provide a consistent level of care if you have to keep recruiting new people", said Sue Gregory, who has been a care home nurse in North Yorkshire for 13 years.

"Its very simple, not many people want to do this kind of work, and this is a profession that relies on you getting to know the people you are looking after." more


Earlier articles can be found here 

Key Facts

Since the Coalition came to power in 2010 the NHS has lost as many as 6000 nursing posts.

Paramedics stress-related sick days increase by 28% between 2012 and 2014

Hospital staff absences for mental health reasons double

Key Trends:

Between May 2010 and July 2012: the total NHS workforce decreased by 2%.

Within this change:

The number of doctors rose by 7.5%, qualified midwives by 5%, and qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff by 2%.

The number of qualified nurses decreased by 2%.

Largest decrease in NHS infrastructure support at 9%

A decrease in support to doctors and nursing staff by 2.5%.



Health and Social Care Information Centre Workforce Statistics
"The latest statistics show that the cuts to NHS staff show no sign of slowing down" Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing

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