Hospital

News from Dr Onkar Sahota: Over 17,000 vacancies across London’s NHS workforce

05 June 2019

 

Over 17,000 vacancies

across London’s

NHS workforce

 

There were 17,067 vacancies across London’s NHS workforce between January and March 2019, analysis of new figures released by NHS England has revealed. This marks a rise of 929 vacancies upon the previous quarter. Responding to the data, Labour’s London Assembly Health Spokesperson, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said that “a toxic mix of the Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit, its introduction of public sector pay caps and its failure to help Londoners struggling with the rising costs of living has culminated in a recruitment crisis”.

 

Analysis of the latest workforce statistics also shows that in the first three months of the year, the number of nursing and midwifery vacancies in London’s NHS had risen to 7,306.

 

These stats come in the wake of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) taking the decision to keep nursing on its shortage occupation list, after being advised by stakeholders about the current difficulties being faced in the recruitment of nurses.

 

The uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to be cited as a contributing factor to rising NHS vacancy rates. In March, the Nursing and Midwifery Council published data showing that the number of newly-registered nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area (EEA) has seen a steep decline over the last three years, from 9,389 during 2015/16 to 968 during 2018/2019.

 

Dr Sahota has also pointed towards the costs of living in London and the legacy of the public sector pay freeze and cap as other reasons behind the problems with recruitment and retention.

 

Between 2011 and 2013, public sector pay was frozen, except for those earning £21,000 or under per annum. Subsequently, until 2018, a 1% per year cap was imposed on public sector pay.

 

From August 2017, the Government abolished the bursary available to nursing students. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows that this year, in England, there were 13,150 fewer applicants for nursing courses compared to 2016, which was the last year nursing students could receive financial support through the bursary.

 

The latest available statistics from the Valuation Office Agency show that average rents in London increased by 13% over a four-year period between 2014 and 2018.

 

The Mayor of London has invested £1 billion into delivering 14,700 new council homes, which includes 11,000 social rented homes over the next three years. This is part of the Mayor’s wider pledge to build 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022. However, during a London Assembly Budget Plenary meeting in January, the Mayor made the estimation that to meet the demand for genuinely affordable homes in the capital, the Government would need to allocate roughly four times the amount of funding it currently provides to City Hall for this purpose.

 

Labour’s London Assembly Health Spokesperson, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said:

 

“It is extremely concerning that vacancy rates are rising in the capital, effectively hollowing out our NHS.

 

“A toxic mix of the Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit, its introduction of public sector pay caps and its failure to help Londoners struggling with the rising costs of living has culminated in a recruitment crisis.

 

“There are a number of actions the Government could take to turn this situation around and alleviate the pressures being placed upon beleaguered and demoralised NHS staff. We want to see the Health Secretary funding more nursing training places and restore the nursing bursary. The Government must also provide City Hall with the adequate levels of funding, so we can get on and build the genuinely affordable homes that key workers desperately need in the capital”.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • Analysis of figures released on 30th May by NHS England has revealed that there were 17,067 vacancies across London’s NHS workforce between January and March 2019. The same analysis shows that the number of nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS across the capital had risen to 7,306;

 

  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its review of the Shortage Occupation List in May, and has taken the decision to keep nursing on the list;

 

  • Between 2011 and 2013, public sector pay was frozen, except for those earning £21,000 or under per annum. Subsequently, until 2018, a 1% per year cap was imposed on public sector pay rises;

 

  • In March, the Nursing and Midwifery Council published data showing that the number of newly-registered nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area (EEA) has seen a steep decline over the last three years, from 9,389 during 2015/16 to 968 during 2018/2019;

 

  • From August 2017, the Government abolished the bursary available to nursing students. Data from UCAS shows that in the 2019 UCAS Undergraduate cycle, in England, there were 30,650 applicants for nursing courses, compared to 43,800 in 2016, which was the last year nursing students could receive financial support through the bursary;

 

  • The latest available statistics from the Valuation Office Agency show that average rents in London increased by 13% over a four-year period from £1,300 to £1,473 between September 2014 and September 2018;

 

  • The Mayor of London has invested £1 billion into delivering 14,700 new council homes, which includes 11,000 social rented homes over the next three years. This is part of the Mayor’s wider pledge to build 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022;

 

  • A transcript of the London Assembly Budget Plenary meeting in January, in which the Mayor made the estimation that to meet the demand for genuinely affordable homes in the capital, the Government would need to allocate roughly four times the amount of funding it currently provides to City Hall for this purpose, can be found here;

 

  • Dr Onkar Sahota AM is the London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon.