According to recent research conduct by the Open University, NHS staff shortages are apparently costing the taxpayer around £1.5bn a year in temporary staff.
With the Royal College of Nursing saying there’s around 40,000 nursing vacancies, and widespread shortfalls in staff across the country, the cost of plugging the rota gaps is putting an even greater financial strain on the NHS funding situation. It’s thought that around half a billion pounds could be saved if these shortages were plugged with permanent staff instead of temps.
This all makes for worrying reading.
NHS staff shortages unsustainable
Clearly, the NHS staff shortages situation is unsustainable if millions could be saved by permanent staff being in place. We are again seeing a situation where more money is having to be spent to account for problem areas in the NHS, and if we can rectify this issue, millions could be saved and could be better served elsewhere to support our underfunded public health service.
With the recent news about thousands of elderly and vulnerable patients having to wait in A & E for more than a day, the NHS staff shortages situation must be solved as a matter of urgency to avoid patients needlessly suffering.
We have to look to the government to be accountable. They must ensure funding is adequate and resolve systemic issues in the NHS.
NHS staff shortages linked to unhappy staff and Brexit
Staff retention is understood to be a huge factor when it comes to NHS staff shortages, with research reportedly revealing that around a third of nurses are unhappy in their job.
Brexit has also apparently not helped, which comes as no surprise especially as we remain in a period of uncertainty over the deal that may or may not be struck with the EU. The removal of bursaries for student nurses has also not helped, with applications to study nursing at some universities reportedly falling by almost 90%.
NHS staff shortages and medical negligence
There’s an obvious link between NHS staff shortages and medical neglgience, which is why money is having to be spent on temporary staff to plug the gaps in the first place. But, if we can solve the issue of staff retention and a fall in applications for nursing qualifications, money can be saved and better used elsewhere.
Of course, this is easier said than done…