NHS trusts are still suffering a severe shortfall of nurses despite the
Department of Health’s recruitment drive, according to a new report.
The report by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) shows that nursing levels
are typically 13 per cent lower than staffing requirements, and that this
figure increased to 20 per cent once maternity and sick leave are taken into
Elaine Way, president of the Association of Healthcare Human Resource
Management (AHHRM), said the report reveals that although progress has been
made on nurse recruitment, more still needs to be done.
"AHHRM welcomes the RCN report highlighting the difficulties in
resourcing demand for nurses to meet healthcare commitment," she said.
"It is important to recognise achievements to date – since 1997, 48,000
additional nurses have been recruited ahead of targets [8,000 by 2008].
Although there are more nurses, demand is still increasing, thereby creating
the need for even more staff.
"Improving working lives, retention initiatives and flexible working
all contribute to improving the situation," she added.
"However, there is no magic wand to produce a short-term
The RCN report was published at its annual congress in Harrogate, where
nurses voted in favour of increased Government funding for local authorities.
The RCN is particularly concerned that 50,000 nurses will reach the
retirement age of 55 in the next five years. However, the Chancellor has
promised an extra 80,000 nurses by 2008.