Commenting on the 'Closing the Gap' joint report of the health think-tanks on workforce problems, Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, 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.
“It’s good to see the think-tanks echoing our argument that the supply of nurses cannot be increased without very significant new funding for undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses. The RCN is calling for immediate investment by the Government of at least £1 billion into nurse higher education to encourage more people to train to become nurses.
“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.
“Crucially, however, this report can only tell us how far the NHS is away from filling the number of vacant posts it predicts in the future – which is wildly different to the numbers that will actually be needed to serve our ageing population as we head into the 2030s.”