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Nursing shortages forcing NHS to rely on less qualified staff

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The NHS is relying on less qualified staff to plug workforce gaps because of a huge shortage of nurses, according to a new report.

Support staff, such as healthcare assistants and nursing associates, have been used to shore up staffing numbers, said the Health Foundation charity.

The NHS has relied upon overseas recruitment, but a lack of EU nurses because of Brexit means it is now taking more nurses from countries such as India and the Philippines.

At present, there are almost 44,000 nursing vacancies across the NHS (12% of the nursing workforce), but this could hit 100,000 in a decade, the report said.

The report said most changes to the skill mix – meaning the ratio of fully qualified to less qualified staff – are implemented well and led by evidence, but added: “It is important that quality and safety are at the forefront of any skill mix change.”

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Source: The Guardian, 28 November 2019

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