Headlines: September 6th, 2002

Hospitals in central London face nursing staff turnover levels of up to 38 per cent each year, according to King’s Fund research published today (Friday, September 6) in the British Medical Journal.’Mind the Gap: the extent of the NHS nursing shortage’ says that of a total of 33 acute NHS trusts in London, 19 have turnover rates of a quarter or more. Seven of the trusts had rates of more than one-third and these were all in inner London.

Rapid turnover of nurses is also being experienced in Manchester and Birmingham.

The study’s authors say such turnover rates are too disruptive, both for staff and patients, as well as being costly to the trusts concerned.

They blame high property prices, inconvenient public transport and expensive child care, which together make it impossible for many nurses to work in inner London hospitals once they have finished training.

They say that such a turnover rate must be reduced as an essential to a modernised NHS.

The study also found that, nationwide, about one-third of new nursing graduates fail to register to practise. Of those who do register, a further 10 per cent do not work in the NHS in their first year in practice.