In the UK, tens of thousands of nurse, physician jobs vacant

The U.K.'s National Health Service faces a serious recruitment crisis. According to BBC statistics, tens of thousands of nurse and physician posts are vacant.

The data shows 23,443 nursing positions were open on Dec. 1, 2015. This amounts to a 9 percent chunk of the nursing workforce — which is fairly significant, especially when compared to the 2.7 percent average vacancy rate across the country's entire economy, according to the report. Physician vacancy numbers are lower, but have increased approximately 60 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to the report. Current physician vacancies number 6,207.

The BBC reported the increase in vacancies may be because job growth is outpacing trainee growth or because the growing elderly population is putting increased strain on the health system. Many are also blaming poor workforce planning — that there are not enough clinicians and they are not being allocated properly across the U.K.

Another theory says it is because of the "Francis effect," named for Sir Robert Francis, a British barrister who uncovered that a shortage of nurses at Stafford Hospital was a top reason for poor patient care, according to the report. This means NHS is now looking for more clinicians to staff the same number of beds, leading to the high vacancy rates.

No matter the reason, it is leading NHS' trusts, or health organizations, to seek solutions abroad or with expensive staffing agencies. Nearly 70 percent of U.K. trusts are currently recruiting nurses and physicians abroad, according to the report.

See the full report here.  


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