• Question: the nhs is busy, why do they not get more workers ?

    Asked by task10tax on 29 Apr 2022.
    • Photo: Laurence Quirk

      Laurence Quirk answered on 29 Apr 2022:

      Great Question. Part of the reason is the funding to pay for the extra workers and where there are scheme to recruit more sometimes they are short-term and it can take a couple of years to get things sorted

      During the pandemic some nursing staff who had retired from work were asked to come back, but needed to have refresher training to make sure their skills were up to date. Some of those are returning to be retired.

      There are plans to recruit lots more staff but it takes time. If they are clinical and need to study at university sometimes there are not enough places to study. So there is a knock on effect all the way.

      The NHS does recruit people from abroad, but they need to have checks about the qualifications to make sure they are equivalent to what we have in the UK. They may be able to work for the NHS but not at the same level until they have done training to fill any gaps.

      There are lots of schemes to recruit apprentices into different roles. These are new but we are seeing more NHS staff doing an apprenticeship. They might start as an admin worker in an office, then become a health care assistant or trainee nurse associate and from there might do a nursing degree apprenticeship.

    • Photo: Sarah Chalmers-Page

      Sarah Chalmers-Page answered on 1 May 2022:

      It’s very complicated.

      Part of it is that people take a long time to train – it takes 12 years to create a doctor, and at least 3 to train a nurse. So we can’t just say “great, let’s recruit thousands of new doctors!” because they wouldn’t be ready for years. And part of it is that government policy has got fiercer about immigration. It used to be far easier to recruit people from abroad, but now the government no longer allows that for some roles and has made it harder for other people to bring their families with them, which puts people off coming.

      Part of it is that people don’t necessarily know about other routes into the NHS – for example people think you need to take a very long degree, and the idea of the debt puts some people off, but there are now more and more apprenticeships available that let people earn whilst they train.

      I think sometimes the media puts people off too – if all you hear are negative stories about how hard it is it can be difficult to convince people to choose NHS careers rather than other jobs they could do with the same grades in school. I get very cross with the press for only ever showing the bad side.