Evidence provided by the Royal College of Nursing suggests that thousands of nursing posts in London are currently unfilled.
This authoritative organisation suggests that over 10,000 vacancies for such posts were not dealt with in 2015.
The shortage of nurses worsened last year, with 17 per cent of all London’s registered nursing jobs vacant, up from 14 per cent in 2014 and 11 per cent in 2013.
This points to problems with recruitment that are only going to be exacerbated by the recent bursary issues related to nursing students.
Indeed, it has already been suggested by analysts and critics of the government policy that the decision to scrap bursaries is false economy.
Nonetheless, the government and Department of Health were both robust in their response to the opinion of the college.
The Department of Health said it did not recognise the figures, and asserting that London had 1,800 more nurses than a year ago.
But the Royal College of Nursing defended the figures, pointing to the fact that they had been gathered via Freedom of Information requests to London NHS trusts.
The college believes that the data acquired is indicative of a critical shortage of registered nursing staff.
Commenting on at the situation, Bernell Bussue, the Royal College of nursing’s London regional director, gave his personal view on the economic issues that the NHS faces in this area.
“The problem is partly down to short-sighted workforce planning which saw training posts cut in the past, meaning there aren’t enough home grown nurses coming through the system. Most importantly, the ongoing pay freeze imposed by the government means that nursing staff increasingly just can’t afford to live and work in London.”
Evidence provided by the Royal College suggests that nurses’ pay has run at a level 10 per cent below inflation since the turn of the decade.
London Mayor Boris Johnson spoke to BBC Radio London on the matter and suggested that it was possible to afford to live in London on a nurse’s salary.
However, he did concede that the cost of residing in London is incredibly high, and realistically it would be difficult for a nurse to live comfortably in the capital.
Nonetheless, Johnson pointed to the Conservative policy of building affordable homes.
NHS England also attempted to defend the NHS policy in London, stating that the organisation was working on ways of recruiting nurses in the capital.
“In London we are looking at new ways to recruit both new and returning nurses while retaining nurses already in post so that we are reaching our planned staffing levels. This includes a programme in which senior nurses in the capital are working together to create innovative career pathways and making London a more desirable place to work.”