Warning of nursing shortages in East London NHS Trusts

East London is facing a serious nursing shortage, according to a new report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Data from the report showed Barts Health Trust had 1,044 vacant nursing posts whilst Barking’s NHS Trust saw 333 vacancies last summer as a result of Government policies. Local London Assembly Member, John Biggs AM, said the shortage of nurses, which can be seen across the capital, was 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 1,044 nursing vacancies for Barts Health Trust, last July, leaving the Trust with a nursing vacancy rate of 19%. The neighbouring Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust also saw significant vacancy rates with 333 nursing posts unfilled, the equivalent of 17%.

Across the capital, a total of 10,140 nursing posts were vacant, leaving London with a 17% of nursing posts unfilled. 

Mr Biggs said the figures showed the Government and Mayor had to “get serious” about tackling the shortage which threatens to put patient care at risk.

Labour London Assembly Member for City and East, John Biggs AM said:

“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 Barts Health Trust we’re left with 19% fewer nurses than we need and in Barking Havering and Redbridge, its 17% less than necessary. No matter how hard our fantastic nurses work, they can’t be expected to make up this vast 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.”

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