Although overall trends since 2010 show a decline in numbers of mental health nurses, recent years have seen numbers begin to improve. As of June 2019, there are now 36,101 mental health nurses – 776 more than in June 2017.
The Government has carried out work to increase the nursing workforce, such as expanding the number of nurse training places and introducing nurse degree apprentices and nursing associate apprentices.
The National Health Service has also put in place national programmes focused on improving staff retention, return to practice, overseas recruitment and improving sickness absence.
The interim NHS People Plan recognises that there is a shortage of nurses, especially mental health nurses, and sets out immediate actions to reduce vacancies and secure the nursing staff we need for the future. This includes addressing pensions tax concerns and bolstering the workforce through greater international recruitment. Furthermore, the Department has made available placement funding for an additional 5,000 more nurses.