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RCN urges government action as nurse numbers drop

17 Jan 2018

The RCN has called on the Government to lift the NHS out of the current “dangerous and downward” spiral.

Busy hospital corridor The comments were made in response to NHS Digital figures that show one in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, with more than 33,000 leaving last year. This means there are now more leavers than joiners. 

The RCN has described the figures as “disappointing, but not surprising” and said short-sighted cuts to nurse training places mean the next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through, just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said: “Most patient care is given by NHS nurses and, each time the strain ratchets up again, they are the ones who bear the brunt of it.” 

She added: “We already know there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England and things continue to head in the wrong direction. There cannot be safe care for patients while the Government continues to allow nursing on the cheap.”
 
The RCN has called on ministers to make an urgent investment in services and those who provide them – including giving nurses a meaningful pay rise above inflation this year, increasing the number of training places and supporting career development.