Mental Health Services: Nurses

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of the NHS mental health nursing workforce in each year since 2010.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

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.

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