NHS thirty-six THOUSAND nurses – over 11% – short but real picture far worse

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.

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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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10 responses to “NHS thirty-six THOUSAND nurses – over 11% – short but real picture far worse

  1. “Yet Jeremy Hunt continues to boast”


    Lie through his effin’ teeth, you mean. :/

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  3. It would be interesting to know how many nurses were in fact permanent and not agency/bank.

    And how much per hour the agency was being paid for the nurse supplied.

  4. I have never believed the governments account of how many doctors and nurses they have recruited and retained. It was never possible. why do we never call out the Health secretary on the big ques and long waiting times. There are no more people using the NHS than before. The problem is the government have closed A&Es and Hospitals across the country. So when they do this the same amount of people simply have less places to go so there is an increase in the remaining Hospitals. Why do we never challenge the Tory mantra that the NHS is free at the point of need. The NHS is not free at any point as we have already paid up front. Let us at least challenge their flippant statements.

  5. This is a part of the tory plan to run down the NHS, in order to say that it’s not working, and unfortunately it’s having an effect.
    Every single one of those tories who supported this mendacious campaign, have had the privilege of free health care in their lifetimes.
    We must support our NHS at all costs because most people will be unable to pay the costs of private healthcare.

  6. Pingback: NHS thirty-six THOUSAND nurses – over 11% – short but real picture far worse | Hercules space·

  7. Frightening statistics. Can you confirm that the figures are for the whole NHS? It has just been stated on Woman’s Hour that in Scotland, there has been an increase in the number of nurses so that means the figures for England are even worse. I think they still have bursaries in Scotland. Loss of bursaries in England has seen an 18% decline in applications to study for nursing degrees, mainly because mature students can’t risk taking on more debt. ( Same source.) The anticipated drop in graduates coming through in 2020 is 2.6%. It is unlikely EU nurses are going to change their minds and start coming here to work again. Inevitably we will see care provided by a range of staff with less training and lower pay rates, having to act beyond their competency. Cutting the wages bill has long been a high priority in preparing the NHS for its final outsourcing to profit making businesses from all over the globe.

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