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.