UCAS has just reported a drop of 8% in entrants to nurse training, in England, in 2017, after the replacement of bursaries by loans. According to the Nursing Times, unions had already warned this change in funding would put off many applicants especially the much-wanted mature students. The latter group have fallen by 11% compared to 2016.
In Scotland the Royal College of Nursing, seemingly unaware of the situation in England have merely griped about the size of the increase in numbers (142 extra) in Scotland describing it as only ‘modest’ and saying the Scottish Government is failing to ‘future-proof’ the sector. Better a modest increase than a serious drop?
Are they failing to future-proof? See this published on 28th June this year:
‘More trainee nurses and midwives’
‘National workforce plan for future NHS staffing. An estimated 2,600 extra nursing and midwifery training places will be created over the next four years as part of wide-ranging measures to support and strengthen NHS Scotland’s workforce.’
Further and very relevant is the question: ‘What are they increasing from?’ As it turns out NHS Scotland is already far better staffed per capita than NHS England.
As of March 2017, 139 430 staff work in NHS Scotland. That’s up more than 12 300 under this administration. The population of Scotland is 5.3 million so that’s a ratio of 1 to 38. NHS England has just announced:
‘In December 2016, across Hospital and Community Healthcare Services (HCHS), the NHS employed (full-time equivalent): 106,021 doctors; 285,173 qualified nursing staff and health visitors; 21,604 midwives; 131,791 qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff; 19,392 qualified ambulance staff; 20,858 managers; and 9,866 senior managers. In September 2016, across general practice, there were (full-time equivalent): 33,804 GPs (excluding locums); 15,827 nurses in GP practices; 10,009 GP direct patient care staff; and 65,334 admin/non-clinical staff.’
That makes a total of 719 673 staff. The population of England is 53.01 million so that’s a ratio of 1 to 73. I may have missed something here but I can’t see what it is.
Further, even these NHS England figures may not be trustworthy. See this from the Guardian in 2016:
‘NHS [England] has 70,000 fewer staff, new figures reveal. Official numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives were inflated, latest figures show. The NHS has a chronic shortage of staff, according to new figures’
The Royal College of Nursing, despite its highly pretentious and establishmentarian name is a trades union just like the RMT or Unison. It’s no way a college of any kind and its royalist pretentions weaken its credibility in a state-funded institution, I’d say. It’s just all about ‘wir members’ aspirations’. We get that.