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About Polly Toynbee On The Shortage Of Nurses

Of course it’s true that anything and everything that goes wrong, or is not even up to the hoped for standards, is the fault of the Tories. The baby eaters they are.

This might not actually be quite true, despite that being the template for a Polly Toynbee column. An example here:

Exhibit number two in the Tories’ destruction of our health service: the NHS has just published its highest ever rate of vacant posts for nurses, at more than 43,000 missing roles. A survey by the Health Service Journal, working from its own FoI requests, finds 93% of NHS trusts are falling short, with nearly half lacking 10% of the nurses they need: that’s three times more than five years ago. Nurses are being substituted with untrained assistants.

Nurse training places fell victim to George Osborne’s first budget: a conveniently commissioned McKinsey report said there would be less need for nurses in future. Later came the 2017 abolition of bursaries for trainee nurses, which cut the number of subsequent applicants. That made training unaffordable for women with children, who are often healthcare assistants wanting to upgrade.

Well, we know it’s argle bargle just from what she’s said. The number entering, in 2017, a 3 year training course is going to have no influence upon the number of trained nurses available in 2019.

But, of course, this is Polly. So we know there’s more.

Which is, well, we just changed the method of training nurses too, didn’t we? Used to be – and I know because I lived with one who went through this – you started off, they taught you how to wash your hands then you were on the ward doing nursing. And step by step you learnt how to do it. Within a month holding the hand of someone dying…..

Nowadays? Nursing is a profession don’cha know. Which means that it must start with a degree course. I’ve seen some of the work required to get that degree too – unbelievably one bit was teaching you how to use Google. Something that I’d expect the young to know better than the fool who wrote that piece of coursework.

But, you know, incentives. Now you’ve got to take out a loan (yes, the bursary issue does make a difference), go to uni for 3 years and then you might actually get to do some nursing.

The number of nurses has fallen has it? So, why did you institute the change in training then?

Come along now Polly, think for a minute. What was the reason for that degree insistence in the first place? In order to raise the status of nurses, of course, as a graduate only entry profession. Or, more cynically, to reduce the number doing it by increasing the cost of doing it.

Which does rather neatly explain why there are fewer nurses.

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Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
4 years ago

Interesting piece from Nursing Times

Lots of champing at the bit about people applying, but this is really irrelevant as nursing is oversubscribed anyway. The killer statistic:-

“There were just 80 fewer acceptances this year, which puts the total number of nursing acceptances at 28,540 – the third highest on record.”

Why do we need to throw money at bursaries when we can fill every place without them?

Nautical Nick
Nautical Nick
4 years ago

Training is all very well, but all too often it is impossible to get a feel for a job before you decide whether to sink time and treasure into gaining a qualification.

4 years ago

May I suggest that the requirement for degree only entry in many occupations, not just nursing, has a lot to do with justifying the expansion of the universities, and indeed A level courses.
Indeed many current training courses have more to do with supporting the training industry than increasing the effectiveness of the workforce.

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