Doncaster MP challenges health ministers over NHS nurse shortage

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A Doncaster MP is challenging health ministers over the shortage of NHS nurses.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint argued that the UK’s dependence on recruiting nurses from abroad was ‘not sustainable’.

Ms Flint said: “It is extraordinary that the UK recruits so many nurses from abroad, when last year the Government stood by while 37,645 students were turned away from nursing courses. The Government know the figures, they know the numbers of nurses our NHS needs each year to keep up with demand. I am staggered at how slowly they are acting to ensure nurse training keeps up with the NHS’ needs.”

The news comes after it was revealed Doncaster & Bassetlaw NHS Foundation trust found in September they required 275 agency nurses to cover vacancies.

Ms Flint said: “I know how hard the Trust works to recruit and retain staff. And I know how hard it is to find nurses to cover disciplines like A&E. Every time a hospital has to use agency staff, they are paying much more for a day’s work, money that may be needed by another part of the NHS. We should provide training opportunities for young people in Doncaster and beyond to help fill these jobs. Only the Government can make this happen.”

The MP has pressed the Minister following the warning from the RCN that for the first time in nearly 15 years, the UK faced a critical shortage of registered nurses. Said Caroline: “When this problem arose under the last Government, they attracted many nurses back to the profession on more flexible hours. They also put in place more opportunities for nurses to develop their careers and sustained record investment in the NHS. I am determined to keep the pressure on the Government to deliver more home-grown nurses for our NHS.”