The shortage of nurses in the NHS

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As pointed by O'Brien-Pallas et al (2001) state that "the cycles of shortages and surpluses, which have been a source of frustration for nurses in practice, planners, researchers, administrators and funders, are intimately linked with the quality of nurses' work life, the health of nurses and the quality of care they are able to provide.


It is widely acknowledged that NHS has been facing a growing shortage of nurses. While some parts are experiencing shortage at a higher rate than others (London for example), it has been accepted that there is a national shortage. It is believed that UK may be a on a downhill road on the issue of lack of nursing staff and that it is no more a problem of organizations alone, but that of the leaders and law makers of the country. It is said that NHS is unable to deliver good quality healthcare due to the pressure it faces on account of lack of nursing expertise. Need for nurses is depicted as cyclical in nature. Mullen (2003) points out that that the Department of Health recognizes this problem and NHS has revisited its targets to increase the nursing workforce in all clinical professions in 2000. Mullen (2003) points out that "a report published by the Audit Commission (2002) drew attention to the seriousness of the workforce shortage, stating that '' the biggest constraint the NHS faces today is no longer a shortage of financial resources. It is shortage of human resources" (p.346).
The previous three decades have seen a fluctuation in the nursing workforce strength in UK. There was a dearth of nurses till the 80's and then a sharp rise from 80's through the 90's. ...
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