Falling number of 'homegrown' doctors and nurses opt to work for Peterborough health services, warns new report

Government urged to act to tackle recruitment shortfall

Friday, 5th August 2022, 8:48 am

The proportion of UK doctors and nurses working for the NHS in Peterborough has dropped over the last seven years, according to new figures

The fall in so-called homegrown staff has been mirrored across the NHS nationally and has triggered what has been described as a ‘workforce crisis’ for the health service.

The data, which has been compiled by the BBC Shared Data Unit, also suggests that health service managers have turned to staff from the around the world, excluding the European Union, to try and fill the gap.

Concerns have been voiced that the number of UK homegrown doctors and nurses opting to work for the NHS in Peterborough is in decline.

The new figures reveal that between 2015 and 2021 there were 228 more doctors and nurses from the ‘rest of the world’ who joined the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital, Stamford and Rutland Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in 2021 than had in 2015 - an increase of 19.9 per cent.

Yet, over the same time, only 139 more doctors and nurses from the UK joined the trust in 2021 than had in 2015 - a fall of 12.8 per cent.

There were 13 less EU trained staff who joined the trust in 2021 than in 2015 - a drop of 7.2 per cent.

The trend is reinforced for the figures that show the numbers of staff opting to leave the trust.

Some 201 more UK doctors and nurses left the trust in 2021 than had seven years earlier.

However, the number of leavers from the ‘rest of the world’ was 51 more in 2021 than in 2015 - a 2.6 per cent increase.

The number of doctors and nurses from the EU leaving the trust was 34 more in 2021 than in 2015.

Across the country, the data shows the share of UK doctors joining the health service had fallen from 69 per cent in 2015 to 58 per cent last year. Over the same period, the share of new UK nurses fell from 74 per cent to 61 per cent.

Recruitment of doctors from the ‘rest of the world’ rose from 18 per cent to 34 per cent over the same period, and that share of international nurses rose from seven per cent to 34 per cent.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “The NHS recognises the long-standing value of international recruitment and the incredibly important contribution colleagues from around the world make to the delivery of health and care for our communities.

“The NHS is facing chronic workforce shortages, and these are getting worse. These posts urgently need to be filled to make sure our communities receive the best care possible and to alleviate the strain our teams face, against a backdrop of spiralling workloads and ever-growing backlogs of treatments. It is now high time for the Government to commit to a fully funded long term workforce plan for the NHS.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said international recruitment had "long been part of the NHS workforce strategy" with about one in seven staff reporting as non-British.

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for a response.

The findings come months after a Care Quality Commission report warned staff shortages had left emergency centres overcrowded and long waits for ambulances.

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