Thinktanks warn nurse shortages could double without decisive action

21 Mar 2019

RCN backs findings of new report calling for significant funding for nurse education.

Nursing associates

A report published by three major health thinktanks calls for a radical expansion of nurse training in England to stop the health and care workforce crisis worsening dramatically.

The measures outlined by experts from the Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation include £5,200 a year cost-of-living grants for students and a tripling in the number of postgraduate trainees.

The report, titled Closing the Gap, highlights that without decisive action being taken in the upcoming NHS workforce plan, nurse shortages will double to 70,000 and the goals outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan will be impossible to achieve.

Acting RCN Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair said: “The staggering numbers in this report should cause alarm in Whitehall and focus the minds of ministers on the cash they must put on the table to close the gaps.

“Nursing staff are the first to admit that, despite straining every sinew, the care of their patients is too routinely compromised by these shortages.”

The Fund Our Future campaign, led by RCN student members, is calling for immediate investment by the Government of at least £1bn into nursing higher education to encourage more people to train to become nurses.

Donna said: “It’s good to see the thinktanks echoing our argument that the supply of nurses cannot be increased without very significant new funding for undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses.

“But as the report rightly points out, increasing the number of students in nurse education will also require a big expansion in the number of clinical placements available for students as part of their courses, something hospitals and community nursing employers aren’t currently in a position to provide.”

Page last updated - 19/08/2019