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RCN London Safe Staffing Report 2015

Our annual review of nurse staffing levels in the region

The Royal College of Nursing in London have published a review of staffing levels for registered nursing in London in 2015. The data published in this report shows more than 10,000 nursing vacancies in the capital, a vacancy rate of around 17%. That’s up from 14% in 2014 and 11% the year before. At some London trusts 30% of nursing posts are now vacant. 

Read the full report

London needs over 10,000 nurses. RCN London's new report looks at some of the causes and possible solutions for the shortage, as well as the latest figures given to us by different NHS employers in the region.

London’s nursing shortage is getting worse

RCN London’s new report about nurse staffing levels shows a worsening shortage of registered nursing staff in the region. Demand for health services has continued to rise but the recruitment of nursing staff has fallen well short of the level needed. The shortage of nurses in London is higher than the rest of the country and shows no sign of improving. London needs more nurses. 

However, budgeted posts continue to increase

The good news for patients is that London employers have continued to look for more staff following Sir Robert Francis’ warnings about patient safety in 2013. In total we estimate around there are around 1400 more nurses working in London compared to a year ago. However employers have created around 2400 extra posts to keep up with rising demand. The gap between how many nurses London has and how many it needs continues to grow. The biggest shortfall is at Band 5 where only around 18% of new posts have been filled. 

A choice between short staffing or higher costs

RCN London has said that historic cuts to training places, plus the ongoing pay freeze imposed by the Government, have left many London trusts unable to find as many permanent staff as they need. The shortage means employers are having to choose between putting patients at risk by running wards short of staff, or turning to expensive solutions like temporary agency staff or recruiting overseas.

Commenting on the new report, RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue said: “London faces a critical shortage of registered nursing staff. This new research shows 10,000 vacant nursing posts in London, a rate of around 17%.  

“The problem is partly down to shortsighted workforce planning which saw training posts cut in the past right across the country, meaning there aren’t enough home grown nurses coming through the system.  

“Most importantly, the ongoing pay freeze imposed by the Government means that nursing staff increasingly just can’t afford to live and work in London. Pay has run 10% below inflation since 2010. The Government urgently needs to give nursing staff a pay rise at a level which helps them settle in the capital for the long term, before staffing shortages start to damage the quality of care which London’s patients receive.”

Click here to read the full report

Page last updated - 03/08/2019