Since the Government announced the withdrawal of student funding for would-be nurses last year, we are already hearing of a 20% drop in applications for graduate nursing courses. And the 1% pay cap on salaries is not helping to encourage people into nursing and is making existing nurses reconsider whether they can even afford to continue. If the NHS wants to achieve a clean bill of health, we need to ensure there is adequate staffing, funding, resource and education. The health of the nation is at stake.
Around 7,500 nurses from the EU registered to work in the UK last year. This is an increase on the previous year, which was an increase on the year before that. Overseas nurses have played a vital role in the NHS since its inception, and will continue to do so, but clearly when trusts are relying more and more on this form of recruitment something is going wrong.
Thousands of nurses have left their homes and moved to the other side of the world, to work for the NHS in hospitals, our emergency departments and in our care homes. For the vast majority, their starting salary will be about £21,000 a year. Without them many health and social care organisations would struggle to deliver safe care. Their reward for this contribution to our health service? If they don't somehow increase their salary to £35,000 they will be forced to leave the country after six years.