A LEAKED copy of the Tory government report into the NHS staffing crisis reveals that there is set to be a shortfall of nearly 70,000 nurses in the next five years.
The report says: ‘Our analysis shows a 40,000 (11%) shortfall in 2018-19 which widens to 68,500 (16%) by 2023-24 without intervention, as demand for nurses grows faster than supply.’
It says: ‘We believe we can reduce the gap between supply and demand to 38,800 (10%) in 2023-24, assuming that we are able to make progress on all of the interventions in this chapter.’
The workforce strategy was drawn up by senior NHS executives led by Baroness Harding, the Tory peer who chairs the regulator, NHS Improvement.
Shortages of almost every type of health professional are leading to the temporary or permanent closure of units providing A&E care, maternity services and chemotherapy.
The report says former Tory Chancellor Osborne’s decision in 2015 to stop paying nursing students’ tuition fees and maintenance grants has led to a huge drop in those applying to be nurses.
It says: ‘Applications for nursing and midwifery courses have fallen since the education funding reforms, with a 31% decrease between 2016 and 2018.’
Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive Donna Kinnair said: ‘Already faced with a dire shortage of staff, ministers compounded the problem by pulling the rug from under tomorrow’s nurses.
‘The false economy of removing that bursary slowly dawned on ministers and the NHS. If they want to stop the nurse shortage spiralling further, there is no alternative to returning the £1bn that was taken away.’