Following the delivery last month of a 220,000 signature petition to the government by the Royal College of Nursing, a debate took place in Westminster Hall last week regarding issues relating to the urgent problem of nursing numbers.

Aspects of this on-going problem debated by MPs included the impact of nursing shortages on patient safety and staff morale. The need to increase recruitment levels and retain existing nurses were also considered along with the need to establish accountability for staffing levels in the healthcare sector.

There are currently more than 40,000 nursing vacancies in England.

According to a report in the ‘Bedford Independent’, Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin, who led the debate, referred to a ‘recruitment and retention crisis with a serious impact on patient care.’

The government has promised to increase nursing numbers by 50,000 over the next five years through higher recruitment and training levels as well as through implementing measures to retain staff who might be thinking of leaving the profession.

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