This autumn has seen increasing calls for government action to curb the growth in nursing shortages at the same time as the number of vacancies hits an all-time high.

According to NHS figures, there are currently 43, 617 nursing vacancies in NHS England.

As observed in the recent RCN report, ‘Standing Up for Patient and Public Safety’, ‘shortages have an impact on the quality of care and increase the likelihood of missed care and adverse events.’

It adds further detail that ‘where there are less than 50% of registered nurses than planned on shift, staff are twice as likely to report that care has been compromised than if working on a fully staffed shifty.’

The Royal College of Nursing is calling for at least £1 billion a year to be invested in the education of nurses and for the government to take responsibility for ensuring that safe nursing levels are maintained.

The Royal College of Nursing in Wales has also called for action on staff shortages, with Wales experiencing over 1,500 nursing vacancies.

The recent Care Quality Commission’s annual ‘State of Care’ report has also identified the pressures in the health services and the impact of staffing shortages.

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