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Nurses: Vacancies

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27th June 2018.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many beds in English hospitals have been closed due to nursing staff shortages in each year since 2015; which NHS Trusts currently have the highest number of bed closures resulting from nursing staff shortages; and what assessment they have made of the relationship between availability of affordable living accommodation and nursing staff shortages.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Data is not collected centrally surrounding bed closures due to nursing staff shortages. NHS England publishes quarterly information on the total number of available bed days and the total number of occupied bed days by consultant main specialty.

Alongside support provided for care outside of hospitals, the Government provided £337 million of winter funding announced at the autumn budget in 2017 which helped the National Health Service to open over 2,600 beds during peak times of demand.

The NHS is increasing nurse training places by 25% - with 5,000 additional nurse training places available every year from September 2018 – which is one of the biggest increases in NHS history. Currently there are over 52,000 nurses in training.

We recognise that housing costs can be a factor affecting the recruitment and retention of nursing staff. In October 2017 the Government announced that when surplus NHS land is sold, first right of refusal on affordable housing built on the site would be offered to NHS employees, with an ambition to benefit up to 3,000 staff.

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