Nurse vacancies reach record high of almost 47000 in England – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
01 September, 2022 By
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Registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in England have reached a record high of almost 47,000, new figures have revealed.
Data published today by NHS Digital shows nursing vacancies have jumped a significant 21% in just one year.
The latest figures come as nurses across the UK prepare to cast their votes in industrial strike action ballots over the government’s pay awards for 2022-23.
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There are a concerning 46,828 nurse vacancies in the English NHS as of June 2022, the data set has shown. This figure is the highest since records began and is up from 38,814 at the same time last year.
Once again, every region in England has seen a rise in vacancies on the previous year.
It appears London has the most nurse shortages with 11,185 vacancies – up 23% on last year.
This was followed by the Midlands which had 9,336 unfilled nurse posts – up 18% on the year before.
Meanwhile, the South West saw the highest increase in vacancies over the past year. There are currently 3,631 nurse gaps, up 37% from June 2021.
Of the vacant posts, more than 29,900 were nurses needed in the acute sector, while there were more than 13,200 nurse vacancies within mental health.
In addition, the data showed a total of 2,376 NHS community nurse vacancies and 1,077 specialist nurse vacancies.
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Responding to the data, RCN general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, highlighted the timeliness of its upcoming ballot in response to the government’s below-inflation pay awards.
“Two weeks before we open our strike ballot, these stark figures reveal what is happening in England’s NHS – record numbers of unfilled nurse jobs and rising fast too.
“Ten of thousands of experienced nurses left last year at the very moment we cannot afford to lose a single professional, and patients pay a heavy price.”
Earlier this year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council revealed that the number of nurses leaving the register had increased for the first time in recent years, with more than 25,000 allowing their registration to lapse in 2021-22.
“Nursing staff are burnt out and simply not valued by their employers and government,” Ms Cullen warned.
“Ministers choosing to hold their pay well below inflation in a cost-of-living crisis is making more reconsider their future.

Pat Cullen
“Rather than leave a fantastic profession, I am telling members that the time has come to vote for strike action this year – it is the best way to now get politicians to listen and show what we mean when we say ‘enough is enough’.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are boosting NHS recruitment with almost 4,100 more doctors and over 9,600 more nurses working across the NHS compared to last year.
“However, the overall number of posts is increasing as we expand services to bust the Covid backlogs and provide the best possible care to patients.”
They claimed that since September 2019, an “additional 29,000” nurses had been recruited and said the government was “on track” to meet its target of 50,000 more nurses by 2024.
“We have also commissioned NHS England to develop a long term workforce plan to recruit and retain more NHS staff and have launched a taskforce to drive up the recruitment of international staff into critical roles across the system this winter,” they added.
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