The growth rate in NHS nurse numbers in England has halved this year compared to the last, according to analysis of latest workforce data by Nursing Times, with hospital trusts prioritising cost-cutting rather than safe staffing, in order to cope with the bite of NHS financing.

As a result, healthcare specialist, Martin Bell from Real Recruitment Solutions in Bournemouth, has given a presentation about the UK nursing recruitment crisis and the importance of proper staffing, at the Hampshire Care Association (HCA) seminar at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Designed to inform and advise members on the many hot topics across the sector, The HCA seminar was attended by a variety of key stakeholders involved in all levels of care provision.

Arguing that staffing remains the most important factor in the delivery of high-quality care, Martin, whose role specialises in sourcing permanent, professional staff for the healthcare sector, addressed delegates regarding the current shortage of nurses within the NHS and in adult social care.

Commenting on the current climate within healthcare recruitment, Martin advised that there is a predicted shortfall of 7,000 nurses graduating each year and that the adult social care sector is going to be the worst hit, as they will not be able to compete with the NHS salaries and additional packages.

Martin said: “The nursing staffing crisis is having an impact on many service providers. There are numerous reasons for it, including the classic supply and demand anomaly, the new migration rules for overseas nursing staff, and the fact that the nationwide shortage means candidates can pick and choose their best job offers.

“The Care Quality Commission (CQC) identifies staffing levels as being the greatest obstacle to delivering high quality care in the UK. Social care operators and the NHS therefore need to innovate to attract, train and retain new nurses – and consider using recruitment specialists which recruit permanent healthcare staff.

He continued: “At Real Recruitment Solutions we have employers coming to us on a weekly basis looking to source staff at all levels from strategic management positions to hands-on nursing and care. It’s a tough situation. The sector must stand together and with the help of the local Care Associations, lobby both local Government and Parliament.”

Debbie Corti-Young, business manager at the Hampshire Care Association, said: “The consequence of this worrying issue, is that nursing homes in Hampshire and the south are changing their registration from nursing to residential, resulting in fewer beds available for those ready to leave hospital. This causes bed blocking in hospitals and extended waiting times for many needing operations.

Debbie concluded: “The HCA is liaising with other care associations, local authorities, the NHS and specialist recruitment companies such as Real Recruitment Solutions, to highlight the rewards and opportunities of working in the care sector.”

To find out more about employment opportunities in the healthcare sector visit or call Martin Bell on 01202 530770.