In the letter (link at the end of this article), sent to NHS trust leaders and commissioners, Baroness Harding and Ms Hartley warned nursing shortages “unlikely to improve” unless serious efforts are made to recruit more students and stop those already in the workforce from leaving.
The letter further warned that the shortage of nurses is “biggest single challenge we currently face nationally”
Whilst the problem requires a longer-term solution, in the letter Baroness Harding and Ms Hartley said that there are actions that can be taken in the next financial year and within existing budgets to tackle the situation, including:
- Funding 5,000 extra clinical placements for the September 2019 intake
- Launching a new annual recruitment campaign targeting school leavers and linked to work experience
- Reviewing current return to practice processes
- Securing a job guarantee offer for newly qualified staff
- Boosting preceptorship and early career support
In terms of the future nurse workforce strategy, the letter gave the following indications as to some of the proposals:
- in the longer-term, higher education institutions must be more actively engaged with to ensure there are enough places for those wanting to become a nurse or midwife;
- maximising the contribution of the apprenticeship and the new nursing associate routes into the profession;
- the need to reduce the number of students dropping out of courses and helping newly qualified nurses manage the transition from education to employment;
- nurses should also be able to move more easily between employers and sectors to give them fulfilling careers;
- to help employers identify and fully utilise advanced level nurses and other practitioners, including by updating the electronic staff record to track numbers and plan their deployment;
- plans to devolve more workforce activities locally through the emerging integrated care systems.
- highlight the importance of fostering a culture of continuous development that supports our nursing and midwifery staff to meet their personal aspirations; and
- a review of the priority areas for clinical professional development (CPD).
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