Stressed nurses 'want to quit'

Royal College of Nursing General Secretary Dr Peter Carter

Royal College of Nursing General Secretary Dr Peter Carter

First published in National News © by

Almost two-thirds of nurses have considered quitting their jobs in the last 12 months because they are so stressed, a survey has found.

Swingeing cuts to the numbers of nurses in the NHS have left many feeling overburdened in their work and unable to give the care they want, the Daily Mirror said.

A survey of 10,000 staff by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that 62% had thought about leaving over the last year because they are under so much stress in their job. A further 61% felt unable to give patients the care they wanted because they were too busy, while 83% believed their workload had increased in the last 12 months.

Official figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre last week revealed the NHS has lost more than 5,000 nurses in just three years.

Data for May this year reveals there were 348,311 qualified staff working in nursing, midwifery and health visiting, down 5,601 on the 353,912 in May 2010.

As well as staff cuts, nurses have also had to endure a pay freeze between 2010 and 2012, the Mirror said, followed by a 1% cap on increases from this year until 2016.

Rachael McIlroy, from the RCN, said: "Salaries have remained static while household bills are rising, and people are finding it really hard. Extra unpaid hours is an issue because there are too few staff, and job security is an acute concern."

Dr Peter Carter, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, told the Mirror: "At a time when patients are so dependent on the nursing workforce, the idea that so many are contemplating leaving just doesn't bear thinking about. The reality is that nurses are caring for more patients, with fewer staff having less time. This just can't continue."

Jamie Reed, shadow health minister, said: "David Cameron's mismanagement of the NHS is putting it under huge strain. More than 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since the election and waiting lists have reached a five-year high.

"One in 10 hospitals is already operating without enough staff as the Government wastes billions on a damaging back office re-organisation. Six months after the Francis Report, it is simply unacceptable that the Government has failed to take any action on minimum staffing levels. This is further proof you can't trust David Cameron with the NHS."

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