“Almost 6 out of 10” plan to go in five years
Nurses demonstrate in LondonAuthor: Helen HoddinottPublished June 4, 2021
Last updated on June 4, 2021
There are warnings that a shortage of nurses will worsen in London – with more and more people planning to quit the job after the pandemic.
The latest figures show that there are 8,444 nurse jobs in the capital – 11.4% of the vacancies.
Challenging working conditions at the forefront of the fight against Covid have put a heavy strain on the mental health of the workforce.
“There is an enormous level of burnout,” says Amy, a recently trained nurse who works in east London, and says that working on Covid wards felt like she had to be 10 years qualified in just a few weeks.
“When you get into a job and have this huge baptism of fire, you run on adrenaline and I think you didn’t have the right support mechanisms and the time to process what was going on … I think this is going to be really interesting be to see how that develops in the next few months and whether people like me decide to take a break. “
In March, the government offered NHS workers in England a 1% raise in what critics called a real pay cut due to rising inflation rates.
“It was just a complete kick in the teeth after everything that happened,” says Emma, a Londoner and mother of two who has worked for the NHS in the capital for the past 12 years.
“In recent years, nurses’ salaries have not risen with inflation, so 1% is not going to make up for the amount we have lost over the years. So it was detrimental to me.”
Emma says she “would have left London long ago” if her son hadn’t gone to school in town.
“Most of the months my salary goes towards my rent and it’s very hard to save. It’s also very difficult to do extra shifts because you need your rest, so I feel like I’m just working to really pay my rent. ” with no end in sight, almost like a treadmill. “
The latest survey by the Royal College of Nursing found that 57% of respondents plan to leave London in five years – an increase of 17% compared to 2016.
RCN Regional Director for London, Lisa Elliott, says:
“The personnel crisis remains the greatest risk to the London health and care system. Unless urgent steps are taken, it will undermine any real effort to address the deep health inequalities of Londoners.
“The nurses I speak to tell me they are exhausted from care due to COVID-19 and many say they are considering leaving the job. The London health and care system cannot afford to lose any more nurses.
“We now need the government and leaders in London to adequately support all the caregivers who have shown so much commitment over the past year and finally give them a raise that is commensurate with their skills and professionalism.
“This needs to go hand in hand with a long-term and coordinated workforce plan with clear responsibilities to increase the nursing staff now and in the future to ensure the care Londoners deserve.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs says:
“We are aware of the tremendous pressure this pandemic has put on our caregivers and we are committed to supporting their well-being. At the same time, we are offering a raise for NHS staff when surveys in the broader public sector are suspended to recognize their exceptional work during this challenging time.
“There are record numbers of nurses working in our NHS and applications for nursing have increased 34% this year alone. As we build better, we will help our NHS workforce grow, with 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament, and all eligible students of nursing, midwife and allied health professions can receive at least £ 5,000 a year from the government.
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