RICHARD WILSON: LABOUR’S PLAN TO TRAIN MORE NURSES AND TACKLE NHS RELIANCE ON AGENCY STAFF
Richard Wilson today welcomed Ed Miliband’s announcement that the next Labour government will immediately increase nurse training places to reduce the spiralling bill the NHS is paying for agency staff.
Richard Wilson is Labour’s candidate to be the next MP for Guildford. The A&E unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford is one of many consistently failing to meet waiting time targets.
The step-change increase in training of more than 10,000 places over current levels in the next parliament will be paid for by Labour’s £2.5 billion Time to Care investment fund – raised from a mansion tax, a levy on the tobacco firms and cracking down on tax avoidance.
Labour’s 10-year Plan for the NHS will reverse short-sighted reductions in nurse training under the Tories.
- There have been over 8,000 fewer nurses trained in this Parliament compared to 2010/11 levels.
- The Royal College of Nursing has said these training cuts will “cause serious issues in undersupply for years to come”
- A recent survey by NHS Employers found that eight out of 10 NHS employers are experiencing nurse workforce supply shortages.
These reductions have left the NHS having to recruit thousands of nurses from overseas.
The RCN recently published figures showing that there were 6,228 nursing registrations from abroad in 2013/14 – an increase of nearly 45% on the previous year. In the same year 4,379 nurses left the UK to work overseas.
And spending on agency staff has soared by more than £500m.
- Foundation Trusts’ spending on agency staff has risen from £855 million to £1.4 billion since 2010.
- A recent report from Monitor stated that the “high use of contract and agency staff…has put NHS Foundation Trusts under unprecedented financial and operational pressure”
There is a growing staffing crisis in the NHS.
- Nurse numbers have failed to keep pace with demand: over half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed – and more say patient safety got worse, not better, over the last year.
- In recent days London Ambulance Service announced it had been forced to recruit almost 200 paramedics from Australia.
But nurse training in the UK is highly oversubscribed.
An RCN survey has estimated that there are 54,000 applicants a year for 20,000 training places – meaning more than 30,000 would-be nurses are turned down.
Labour will train 10,000 more nurses above current levels over the course of the next parliament as a key step towards delivering our pledge of 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 new homecare workers, and 3,000 more midwives.
Mr Miliband said:
“Under David Cameron, there have been 8,000 fewer nurses trained and hospitals have been left scrambling to repair the damage – paying hundreds of millions of pounds in agency fees.
“Our training courses in this country are massively over-subscribed and so many talented young people in Britain are missing out on the opportunity of these rewarding jobs. Instead, the NHS is forced to bring in agency staff or recruit from overseas.
“People coming to work in the NHS from other countries make a hugely important contribution and our health service would not cope without them.
“But Britain cannot afford to waste the talents of thousands of people in this country who would become nurses if the training places were available. And our health service cannot afford to pay high costs for hiring agency staff because of the chronic staff shortages created by this government.
“As part of our Time to Care investment fund, Labour will train 10,000 more nurses above current training levels so that we achieve an average 21,000 training places a year in the next Parliament.”
Richard Wilson said:
“I welcome this commitment from Labour to increase the number of nurses trained in the UK. Along with extra doctors, midwives and care workers this will address the severe problems patients face in Guildford and Cranleigh. People are regularly forced to wait over a week to see their GP here and A&E at the Royal Surrey have had well-publicised difficulties.
“I hope this announcement will encourage local young people to consider nursing as a career. Britain is very proud of our NHS nurses. The recent case of nurse Pauline Cafferkey who contracted Ebola showed what brave and special people they are.
“The NHS is our country’s greatest achievement. It is the embodiment of how British people want to care for each other. Sadly, after nearly five years of privatisation and staff shortages under the Conservative-LibDem Coalition our NHS is slipping away. If elected on 7 May, I will go to Westminster to save the NHS for the people of Guildford and Cranleigh.”
More information about Richard Wilson here: https://wilsonrichard.com/about/
Labour Party Press Office
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