The Public Accounts Committee’s report on the NHS nursing workforce is helpful in highlighting the ongoing need for long-term and transparent workforce planning. Universities are committed to helping the Government meet its targets on workforce expansion and the Council is working with policy makers to explore requirements for further programme growth.
The report also notes the contribution made to the NHS by over 20,000 nursing students during the first wave of the pandemic and recognises the impact that this has had on placement capacity and student progress. Universities have worked incredibly hard to help students complete on time and continue to work with practice partners and Health Education England to increase placement capacity.
The Public Accounts Committee calls on the NHS to support nurses’ well-being during the pandemic. The Council would like this support extended to healthcare students, some of whom may require additional mental health and pastoral support during this time. Early intervention would support student and eventually workforce retention.