Commenting on the National Audit Office report into the NHS nursing workforce published today (Thursday), UNISON national nursing officer Stuart Tuckwood said:
“Any increases in nursing numbers in recent years have been vastly outstripped by demand on NHS services and tackling the coronavirus could test staffing to the limit.
“There’s a huge challenge to reverse the past decade of underfunding in nursing. There must be sustained, substantial investment in next week’s Budget.
“This report also highlights the needless barriers in the way of solving the nursing shortage.
“Less than a third of the apprenticeship levy paid by NHS trusts is being spent. The government must change the restrictive rules to allow it to be spent effectively.
“Ministers must also drop the health surcharge on overseas nurses to make it easier to recruit and retain staff from other countries.”
Notes to editors
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.