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NHS sees 16% increase in job vacancies in one year

NHS sees 16% increase in job vacancies in one year

Official statistics from NHS England reveal a 16% increase in the number of job vacancies from 2016 to 2017
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Official statistics from NHS England reveal a 16% increase in the number of job vacancies from 2016 to 2017.

A report released by NHS Digital today (25 July), found that in March 2017 there were 30,613 vacancies in the NHS workforce, compared with 26,424 in 2016 and 26,406 in 2015.

The report also found that there were 86,035 advertised vacancies of full-time equivalent staff members in England between January and March 2017.

'Urgent action'

Justin Madders MP, Labour’s shadow health minister, urged the Prime Minister to ‘take urgent action to secure a sustainable workforce in our NHS’.

He said: ‘For years, the Tories have taken NHS staff for granted and asked them to do more for less, resulting in a recruitment and retention crisis which threatens patient care on a daily basis.

‘Frankly the Government’s solution of hiring expensive agency staff or asking hard-pressed existing staff to cover extra shifts is not in the best of interests of patients or medical professionals.’

The statistics also revealed that of the March vacancy rate, 38% were for nursing and midwifery staff, while 21% were for administrative and clerical staff.

'Thinly stretched'

Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA treasurer, said problems with recruitment and retention 'are leaving staff and services thinly stretched’ and affecting patient access.

He said: ‘This has a huge impact on morale, often leading to stress and burnout. If we cannot find a solution, it is inevitable that these doctors may consider looking elsewhere for a job that provides them with greater career satisfaction and a better work life balance.’

He added that failure to address the workforce crisis in the NHS ‘will only compound existing recruitment problems, adding to pressure on existing staff and affect access to, and quality of, patient care’.

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