160,000 nurses driven out of NHS by bru­tal Tory cuts

An­nual ex­o­dus up 17% amid cri­sis

Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARTIN BAGOT Health & Sci­ence Cor­re­spon­dent martin.bagot@mir­ror.co.uk

SURG­ING stress, longer hours and poor pay have helped drive 159,134 nurses out of the NHS in five years.

The an­nual ex­o­dus rose 17% in that pe­riod, leav­ing at least 40,000 un­filled posts in Eng­land alone.

Gov­ern­ment data, af­ter a Par­lia­men­tary ques­tion by Labour, shows 33,530 quit in Eng­land in the year to Septem­ber 2017. The fig­ure was 28,547 in 2012-13 and it has grown ev­ery year.

Shadow Health Sec­re­tary Jonathan Ash­worth said: “The Gov­ern­ment’s dis­re­gard for nurses and years of squeezed wages are forc­ing good peo­ple out. The crit­i­cal short­age is a threat to pa­tients across the coun­try.”

The fig­ures come af­ter the Mir­ror re­vealed last week the num­ber of GPs re­tir­ing early has dou­bled since 2010.

There are now an es­ti­mated 100,000 staffing va­can­cies across the NHS.

Royal Col­lege of Nurs­ing chief Janet Davies said: “This paints a bleak pic­ture. Af­ter years of pay cuts and un­der­in­vest­ment, we are haem­or­rhag­ing the best pro­fes­sion­als.”

The num­ber of EU nurses com­ing here also fell 90% in the year to Septem­ber 2017. And last year, the Tories axed the nurs­ing bur­sary – caus­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for nurs­ing de­grees to fall 10% while those sign­ing up face huge debt.

Uni­son’s Sara Gor­ton said: “The grow­ing strain is so great it’s no won­der so many nurses are walk­ing away for less pres­sured jobs else­where. “But this ex­o­dus of ex­pe­ri­ence and ded­i­ca­tion comes at a huge cost, es­pe­cially as there’s too few new re­cruits. Ministers must bring back the bur­sary.” The Depart­ment of Health said: “Since 2010 there are 47,000 more NHS staff, in­clud­ing over 12,900 more nurses on wards, so we would ex­pect a small rise in leavers. “We have ex­panded nurse train­ing places by 25%.”

BLEAK Janet Davies

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