by Chris Bate
Unless you have been in hibernation for the last few months you will no doubt have heard the news of nurses leaving their profession left, right and centre.
In 2017 the NHS lost over 33,000 nurses, an astonishing number of people and an alarming prospect we are currently faced with – “who will provide the complex care for our society in an ever ageing population?”
The NHS is arguably the most envied healthcare system globally and has been in operation for almost 70 years, so how is it that we can break it so badly?
There have always been pressures on the NHS, that’s a given, but now the straw that broke the camel’s back comes to mind. With the ever declining reputation of the NHS it comes as no surprise that the number of people joining NHS England is 3,000 people less per year than those that are leaving. This correlation was also reflected in NHS Wales.
Although Northern Ireland and Scotland did see increases in their nurse leavers, their joiners still outweigh this. Apparently, this issue is being tackled, but with the removal of NHS funded nursing degrees (as of August 2017), I can only see this heading one way, numbers will even further decline as there is even less of an incentive to join the profession. Not to mention the portrayal of the industry being long hours without breaks and the chance of being attacked by patients they are trying to care for, it’s surprising that many of them have lasted this long. This feels like an ever-decreasing circle and only a matter of time before something has to give.
Like most I have nothing but respect for clinicians and have only ever experienced a great level of care, they are the heart that keeps the NHS beating yet ironically it seems that they are providing palliative care to their apathetic employer – something has to change!