More nurses in frontline care but momentum must be maintained to meet ambitious NHS workforce plan

Lucina Rolewicz responds to new data confirming the government has met its manifesto commitment on 50k more nurses in the NHS.

Press release

Published: 30/11/2023

Responding to new data confirming the government has met its manifesto commitment on 50k more nurses in the NHS, Nuffield Trust Researcher Lucina Rolewicz said:

“This data confirms that there are over 50,000 more full-time equivalent nurses working within NHS services since September 2019, which results in more clinicians on the frontline delivering care for patients. The level of growth in NHS nurses that needed to be achieved to meet this manifesto commitment has only been achieved three times before in the last 60 years. This will have required significant effort from national bodies, employers and existing staff at a time of undoubted pressure.

“This year alone (up to September 2023) we have seen a substantial jump, over 18,000, in the number of nurses working in the NHS – the highest annual increase on record. Sustaining the recent momentum will be absolutely vital if the NHS hopes to meet its ambitious workforce commitments in the NHS workforce plan. Our analysis published today shows that the NHS will need to see on average over 13,000 more nurses working within services every year until 2037.

“Data from the UK’s nursing register also published today still illustrates how reliant we are on international recruitment to grow our nursing workforce. Over the last six months, as many joiners came from overseas as were trained domestically. Boosting the domestic supply needs to be a key part of the equation; we know that the NHS is still failing to attract and retain valuable UK-trained staff with too many not joining the NHS or leaving early. The government will need to address these issues together to deliver the sustainable NHS workforce that patients need.”     


Notes to editors

About Nuffield Trust 

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