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The implications of nurse shortages

14 February 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 3


Janet Scammell, Associate Professor (Nursing), Bournemouth University, discusses the effects of registered nurse shortages on the education of nursing students

As the UK moves towards ‘Brexit day’ on 29 March 2019, when we are scheduled to leave the EU, with or without a deal, there are serious implications for the nursing and wider healthcare workforce to consider, according to a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) published at the end of 2018 (NIESR, 2018).

The report, commissioned by a large group of health and social care organisations, known as the Cavendish Coalition, estimates that there will be a nurse shortage of 51 000 by 2021, the end of the Brexit transition period.

Health and social care in the UK is heavily dependent on nurses from the European Economic Area (EEA) and elsewhere. Since the referendum, EEA recruits to the UK fell by 18%, and 15% left the UK (NIESR, 2018). The report states that, whereas there were 42 000 registered nurses (RNs) working in social care in 2017, almost one third had left in the 12 months to November 2018.

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