An article in the Health Service Journal today reveals that, according to the latest figures, the NHS is operating with thirty-six thousand vacant nursing posts.
According to the NHS Confederation’s latest figures, the NHS employs just under 286,000 nurses and health visitors – this means that the NHS is missing an astonishing eleven percent of its proper complement of nursing staff and quite possibly more, since the vacant nursing posts may not include health visitors.
Jeremy Hunt has been publicly humiliated – twice – for his public cockiness about the NHS when our health service is in the process of induced collapse under the Tories. Yet he appears to have learned nothing.
But the shocking figures above tell only a fraction of the real story.
Because even if the NHS was operating at its notional full nursing complement, that full complement of 322,000 has massively reduced under Tory government.
In 2014, according to NHS Employers, NHS England – which was already operating short of more than 15,000 – employed over 377,000 nurses.
That’s 91,000 more than now – in spite of increased population and demand.
Even if the NHS was operating at ‘full’ nurse numbers now, that number would be 55,000 lower than just three years ago.
Yet Jeremy Hunt continues to boast – even though Channel 4’s Fact Check found that his had inflated the number of new nurses by half.
The Tories continue to demonstrate an absolute willingness to mislead the British public about the state to which they have brought our NHS and to devote their energies to their covert plans to turn it into a disaster resembling the awful US system.
Yet as winter bites, the reality is that our health service is worse-equipped than ever to deal with the inevitable ‘winter crisis’. And that puts every one of us at risk.
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