160,000 nurses driven out of NHS by brutal Tory cuts
Annual exodus up 17% amid crisis
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