Hospitals in the north-west of England are in desperate need of a significant boost in nursing staff numbers over the next few years, with healthcare leaders hoping to attract thousands more people to the profession to prevent a crisis from occurring.
BBC North West Tonight submitted Freedom of Information requests to hospitals in the region to ask them about their nursing staff shortfalls and found that more than 3,200 additional nurses are needed to fill gaps.
What's more, an extra 500 consultants are needed in the region's hospitals to bring them to a safe and manageable standard where all patients and their loved ones can be guaranteed to receive the highest possible standard of care.
Overall, Greater Manchester was the area in the north-west with the greatest nursing staff shortfall, with the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust needing a 9.7 per cent increase in nurse numbers to make its staffing level safe. Greater Manchester as a whole needs 1,559 more nurses and 223 additional consultants in total, the analysis found.
The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust was in the next greatest need of extra nurses, with 289 vacancies, followed by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (213), Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (195) and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (163).
This means that there are plenty of opportunities out there for nurses, but more individuals need to be attracted to the profession too in order to prevent these staffing shortfalls from widening further.
Speaking to BBC North West tonight, Amanda Cheeseman, assistant director of nursing at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust, commented: "We want to recruit new talent into the organisation but we want to retain it as well and that's what we're trying to do. To invest that loyalty into the organisation.
"Hopefully by 2020, we're going to have a lovely pipeline of nurses coming through some of our initiatives to get where we want to be."
Written by James Puckle
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