The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised to increase the number of nurses working in the NHS by 50,000 to be made up of increased recruitment of 31,500 (comprising 5,000 from apprenticeships, 14,000 from training bursaries and 12,500 overseas recruits) and an 18,500 improvement from increased retention.
- Figures released today show that the government is more than half way to achieving that increase. and that we are on track to meet the manifesto commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by 2024, as we continue to tackle the backlog and Build Back Better.
- Extra nurses will help the NHS recover from the pandemic, tackle COVID backlogs and ensure it continues providing world-class care in the years to come.
- That is why the Conservative government is working hard to deliver on our manifesto commitment to provide 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by 2024.
- There is an increase of over 27,000 more nurses since September 2019, with 327,907 nurses in total in December 2021 compared to 300,904 in September 2019. These nurses deserve the nation's thanks for all they do, working hard to provide exceptional care and treatment for patients across the country every day.
BBC Radio 4's "More or Less" programme has been one of the harshest critics of the PM's statistics (and those of many other politicians and groups.) No regular listener to the programme will imagine that they would hesitate to say that government figures on the numbers of NHS staff were misleading if that were their opinion. "More or Less" looked at the PM's claims in parliament about the growing numbers of professional medical staff in the NHS, in the last episode of the series just ended, on March 2nd.
They brought on an expert from the Nuffield Trust who explained that there really have been significant increases in the numbers of hospital doctors and of nurses. The episode came about as close as such a programme ever would to saying "Actually, Boris is right on this one."
Anyone who wants to check can listen to the episode on BBC sounds here. (You have to register if you have not already done so.)
Britain still does have an issue with the number of GPs and I will address this in a subsequent post. But I welcome the substantial increase in the number of nurses.
Conservatives will continue to do everything we can to recruit and retain even more nurses and to support our NHS as we Build Back Better from the pandemic.