I Refugio Aug 25, 2022 4:20:55 PM 6 min read

The UK Healthcare Staff Shortage: Why is it Happening and What Could be Done


What has become apparent is that the major limit to treatment capacity is not the number of hospital beds, nor even the number of intensive care beds with ventilators, it is the number of appropriately skilled nurses available to provide care. The pandemic has exposed an achilles heel: a deficit in nursing. 

Between 2010 and 2017, the number of nurses in the NHS barely changed. From 2017 to June 2020 there was a 4.8% rise, but the gap between amount of the work to do and nursing numbers has continued to widen. As the shortage of registered nurses persists, the NHS has employed larger numbers of support staff, such as nursing and healthcare assistants. In the past year, the growth in support staff has been twice that of registered nurses. 

In the past few years, the Health Foundation disclosed the rising number of patients and time needed for care and services alongside the change in the numbers of full-time nurses. They reveal an increase in hospital activity by 30%. However, the number of full-time equivalent staff rose a little above 0% in 2017-2018. The previous years present that the percentage usually stays between the -0.5% to 5% difference in staff numbers. This information means that although hospitals have been busier over the years, the number of medical staff has been stagnant.  

 Three think tanks—the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund, and the Nuffield Trust—anticipate around 250,000 vacant positions in healthcare in the UK over the next decade.  

A report from the parliament in 2020 shows that 12% of healthcare workers in the UK were non-British. The skepticism regarding Brexit caused some citizens to look for jobs elsewhere. Due to this changing attitude, the lowered number of EU nationals seeking careers in the area leaves more room for the nation to recruit international hires. The Health Foundation predicts the necessity to hire 5,000 nurses overseas annually until 2025 to fill their gap in healthcare workers. Recently, most international doctors in the UK come from India. Most nurses come from Asian countries such as India and the Philippines and European nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. 

With the shortage of carers projected to remain and increase in the next 5 years, now is the perfect time for you to get into international recruitment whilst the process of getting migrants is still feasible and quicker. Immigration rules change every now and then and when it does, we may have further problems to face in filling the gaps of the lack of healthcare workers. 

You can use a global healthcare recruitment platform like IANS Skilled Worker Job Board to find eligible workers and connect with the best healthcare recruiters. 


Link resources: