Nurses: Vacancies

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the increase in the vacancy rate for nurses in England as reported in NHS Improvement's report on Performance of the NHS provider sector for the quarter ended 30 June 2018.

Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Improvement report on Performance of the NHS provider sector for the quarter ending 30 June 2018, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of nursing vacancies.

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Responsibility for staffing levels rests with individual National Health Service trusts and their boards who are best placed to decide how many staff they need to provide a given service.

We are working with universities to ensure more people continue to apply to be a nurse. The Department is also working with its arm’slength bodies on a number of actions to increase recruitment and retention of the nursing workforce – these include:

- NHS England, with the support of the Department and Health Education England (HEE), has launched a major advertising campaign, aimed at encouraging recruitment to the NHS, retaining the existing workforce, and promoting the possibility of a return to the workforce for those who have previously worked in the NHS. The campaign has a strong focus on nursing, and builds upon HEE’s #KnowAboutNursing campaign, which has been running since May of this year;

- HEE is working with NHS trusts and universities to ensure as many people as possible continue to apply for nurse training programmes; and

- There will be no restriction on the numbers of nurses who can be employed through the Tier 2 visa route – giving health and social care employers the ability to recruit more international nurses to provide outstanding patient care whenever and wherever required.

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