MPs highlight social care nursing crisis

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A Health Select Committee report has called for an urgent expansion of the nursing workforce amidst a sharp drop in nurses in the social care sector. 

The report noted 8,000 nurses had left social care since 2012-13 with the CQC reporting a 4,000 drop in nursing beds over the last two years, despite rising levels of demand and complexity of need.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “The nursing workforce within social care settings is often overlooked by that of the NHS. A national workforce strategy needs to respond to the workforce pressures in social care as well as those within the NHS.

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“There is evidence to show that the social care sector is facing significant challenges in retaining and recruiting registered nurses particularly as a consequence of competition with the NHS as the report acknowledges  This fall in numbers is also replicated in the number of nursing home beds since the start of austerity measures.”

The report makes a number of recommendations, including ensuring language testing for overseas nurses does not place unnecessary barriers on people entering the UK.

Professor Green OBE said: “The English language tests are a vital safeguard but must be proportionately and realistically applied to ensure that good nurses from overseas can work in our sector. We hope the Government and others will see this as a priority for review going forward.”

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