North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust is facing a serious nursing shortage, according to a new report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Data from the report showed 88 nursing posts had been left empty last summer as a result of Government policies. The shortage of nurses, which can be seen across the capital, is the result of a “devastating mix of NHS cuts, reductions in nurse training posts and bursaries, and low morale brought about by increasing work pressures.
A new report from the RCN showed that there were 88 nursing vacancies for the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, last July, leaving the Trust with a nursing vacancy rate of 13%. The Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust has 185 nursing vacancies resulting in a 19% vacancy rate. In the neighbouring Royal Free NHS Trust, which provides a number of services to Enfield and Haringey, there are 528 nursing vacancies, a vacancy rate of 17%, and the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust has 159 nursing vacancies, a vacancy rate of 12%.
Across the capital, a total of 10,140 nursing posts were vacant, leaving London with a 17% of nursing posts unfilled.
The figures show the Government and Mayor have to get serious about tackling the shortage which threatens to put patient care at risk.
It’s staggering that the Health Secretary has allowed London’s nursing shortage to reach this level, especially as the warning signs have been there for a long time.
Over recent years we’ve seen a devastating mix of NHS cuts, reductions in nurse training posts and bursaries, and low morale brought about by increasing work pressures. It’s little wonder that fewer people are attracted to nursing and that those who are in the profession want out.
With the high cost of living in the capital becoming increasingly unaffordable, it’s clear that there is now a struggle to attract and retain nurses and other key workers. That means that in those Trusts serving Enfield and Haringey we’re left with far fewer nurses than we need. No matter how hard our fantastic nurses work, they can’t be expected to make up this gap.
The Government and Mayor have to get serious about addressing this worrying problem. That means improving funding and support for those that want to train, it means providing opportunities for long term development, and it means addressing rising work pressures brought about by savage cuts.