Statistics suggest East Anglian nurses face increasingly difficult conditions, with one in ten leaving the profession every year. In the East, 3,085 left whereas only 2,933 joined, marking the first time the number of leavers was higher than the nurses joining since 2012-13.
This problem is further exacerbated by the increased demand for nurses. On a national level, when it comes to working conditions, emergency admissions have increased by more than 14 percent compared to just a 0.7 percent in the nursing workforce since 2010. Teresa Budrey, the eastern regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, told the Eastern Daily Press: “There aren’t enough nurses to deliver safe care and our nurses tell us about the pressures they face daily.
“The messages we are getting are: we are always working short staffed every shift, we are staying late, we are having to treat patients in corridors.”
“This impacts on patient safety,” she added.
Regionally, ten percent of the 3,500 nursing and midwifery vacancies advertised between April and June last year were filled.
Influential factors include Brexit, poor working conditions, and pay freezes. The Health Foundation revealed the number of EU nurses joining dropped by 96 percent from 1,304 to 344 since the referendum. This comes on the heels of an increasing number of EU staff leaving the NHS.
Additionally, the removal of student bursaries has negatively impacted the number of students applying for a medicine-related course last year, according to UCAS, with dentistry the exception. The associate Dean of Admissions for UEA’s Medicine and Health department, Katrina Emerson, and Emma Sutton, the associate Dean of Teaching, both recommended reinstating the bursary in order to improve recruitment numbers.
With regards to older students joining the profession, Emerson said: “These people find the idea of taking on a huge loan off-putting, so what we see is a drop in these numbers.”
Sutton noted the number of mature students applying in January had decrease.
Despite this, she said: “We are committed to wanting to continue because there’s a huge value.”