Shortage Of Nurses In The UK: What This Means For YOU
The NHS is in crisis. Perhaps it has always been in crisis, but it seems like in the past few years the shortfall in qualified staff and appropriate facilities in the NHS has never been more keenly felt. The effects of this are clear to all NHS users with increased waiting times for operations, shorter hospital stays and a more restricted choice of treatments.
Causes Of The NHS Crisis
The crisis is partly due to funding, partly due to management or organisation, and partly due to a shortage of skills. In 2017, statistics released by NHS Digital showed 86,000 unfilled positions in the NHS between February 2015 and March 2017. At the top of this list were positions for full time midwifes and nurses.
Skills Shortage & Recruitment Challenges
Historically the NHS has looked abroad to bridge this recruitment gap, hence the large number of non-UK nationals working as nurses and other staff in hospitals. Many of these recruits come from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and other African countries. Immigration rules may or may not change for these destinations over the next few years but currently there is certainly a question mark over continued recruitment of nurses from the EU. How easy will it be for nurses from Eastern Europe, for example, to continue working in the UK on temporary or permanent contracts after Brexit? Only time will tell.
Opportunities For UK Nurses & Support Workers
For highly qualified British nurses, the recruitment crisis offers an opportunity. The large number of vacancies means that competition is less intense for senior positions and experienced nurses and support workers can command better salaries and work conditions than during times when there is a skills surplus.
There is strong pressure on the government to abolish the NHS pay cap and allow NHS Trusts to raise wages for nursing positions. This seems to be the only sustainable way of reducing the crisis long term. In the meantime, an increasing number of people – frustrated at a lack of service availability on NHS – are turning to private medical providers such as BUPA and Axa. These medical insurance packages, often provided through employers, have prompted a rise in the number of private hospitals, health centres and specialist practitioners across the country. These private institutions offer lucrative opportunities and greater career options, in many cases, than NHS employment.
Your Next Nursing Position
The challenge for a nurse looking for their next career opportunity is navigating the many job availabilities and finding the best fit for their skills and the best remuneration package. In this, a specialist nursing recruitment agency such as Vetro Recruitment can be an invaluable asset.
We have access to hundreds of rewarding and well paid nursing and support worker positions across the country in the NHS and private organisations. To find out more and make the next move in your career, please get in touch for a chat.