NHS staff shortages increase

90% of health leaders say that understaffing is putting patient safety and care at risk.

Latest figures show that there are now 106,000 vacancies across the NHS in England, including over 44,000 vacancies in nursing. This marks an increase from one year ago.

Beneath this staffing crisis is a chronic lack of government funding, particularly the scrapping of training bursaries. The result is that health workers are working over a million hours a week of unpaid overtime to help the NHS cope with rising demand for care.

UNISON health officer Guy Collis said: “A decade of Tory underfunding has left our NHS struggling to cope and this is having a damaging impact on its devoted workforce.

“Ongoing understaffing means we are more dependent than ever on the goodwill of health workers.”

In October, the NHS in England witnessed the lowest performance across all A&E departments since records began: only 83.6% of patients were seen within four hours in A&E departments, down from 89% in October 2018.

In major “type 1” A&E departments, more than a quarter of patients are now not being seen within the required four hours: only 74.5% of patients were seen in the target time in October 2019, the worst performance on record.