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NHS in desperate need of more nurses

Tuesday 24th January 2017
A significant number of new nurses need to be recruited to prevent problems within the NHS from worsening. Image: sudok1 via iStock
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    The NHS is in desperate need of a significant number of new nurses to prevent problems with care standards and staff shortages within the health service from worsening.

    New analysis published in the Health Service Journal reveals that 96 per cent of hospitals in the UK are currently struggling during the daytime due to a shortage of nurses, highlighting that there are plenty of opportunities out there for nurses looking for a new role or wanting to get back into the profession after a break.

    What's more, figures show that 85 per cent of hospitals are regularly left understaffed at night, meaning the standard of care that patients receive could be being compromised and their long-term health put at serious risk. This is because available staff are overworked and under so much pressure that corners often have to be cut to ensure basic care can be delivered.

    Hospitals in Dewsbury, Pontefract, Harlow and Wigan were among those with the lowest ratios of nursing staff to patients during night shifts, which suggests that these are the places where nurses may be most likely to find a new role.

    Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, commented: "This is yet more evidence that there are too few nurses caring for patients, putting people at serious risk. There are already at least 24,000 nursing vacancies in the UK and it's getting worse every single day."

    Ruth May, executive director at health service watchdog NHS Improvement, added: "We all know the NHS is dealing with intense pressure at the moment. It's the toughest I have ever seen it."

    Therefore, in a bid to prevent standards of care and patients' health from worsening, a significant number of extra nurses need to be recruited by the health service in the coming months.

    A Department of Health spokesman explained that an additional 11,200 nurses have been taken on in UK hospitals since 2010, but significantly more are needed in order to prevent an irreparable crisis from developing.

    Written by James Puckle

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