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South London in urgent need of extra nursing staff

Wednesday 31st May 2017
A significant shortage of nurses has been uncovered at South London hospitals. Image: monkeybusinessimages via iStock
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    Hospitals in south London are in urgent need of more nursing staff, with new figures showing that the region's nurse vacancy rates are currently the worst in the country.
     
    This is according to the latest Safe Staffing Survey from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which uses data obtained via Freedom of Information Requests sent to all of London's NHS Trusts.
     
    These statistics show that there are currently 25 per cent more nursing vacancies in London than there were in 2015, with the total now standing at 12,719.
     
    Approximately one-quarter of this total relates to hospitals in south London, where there are more than 3,200 nursing vacancies at present, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for qualified nurses - particularly those willing to work on a locum basis - in this area.
     
    What's more, south London hospitals account for a tenth of the UK's total nursing vacancy rate, demonstrating just how wide the staffing problem is in this region.
     
    Reasons behind the increasing vacancy shortage include an ageing workforce, uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the status of nurses from the EU, and growing NHS pressures.
     
    The RCN found that it is not just in hospitals that the nursing shortage can be seen, with vacancies increasing across community, mental health and learning disabilities services over the past few years as well.
     
    As a result, a growing number of healthcare trusts have revealed that they will be looking to take on more nursing support staff over the coming months, creating more opportunities for workers with expertise in this field.
     
    Bernell Bussue, London regional director at the RCN, commented: "London is now in the grip of its worst ever nurse shortage which left unchecked will continue to overstretch an already overburdened workforce and damage patient care.
     
    "Good patient care relies on having enough nurses with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. The next government must make these principles the focus of its efforts."
     
    Written by James Puckle
     
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