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The number of people searching for UK nursing jobs has fallen by 17% in the past two years, according to new data from an employment website.
Leaders at job site Indeed said their figures suggested the NHS was battling a “declining interest in nursing”.
“Even a small fall in jobseeker interest makes an enormous difference to staffing levels”
Analysis from the website found searches for nurse posts had fallen by 17.4% between October 2017 and October 2019, with the largest drops seen in Manchester, London and Birmingham.
However, the figures only take into account posts advertised on Indeed and will exclude data from, for example, the official NHS Jobs website.
The news comes after it was announced by NHS Digital on Thursday that nurse vacancies in England now stand at 43,593.
UK managing director at Indeed, Bill Richards, described nurses as the “bedrock of the NHS”.
However, he said with the extent of nurse vacancies, “even a small fall in jobseeker interest makes an enormous difference to staffing levels”.
One of the biggest declines was seen in Manchester where the number of people searching for nurse jobs on Indeed had fallen by 19.1% in the two-year period.
Meanwhile in London, searches had declined by 13.6% in the same timeframe.
In Birmingham, the number of people searching for a nursing post had dropped by 14.4%.
“Filling nurse vacancies is already proving a challenge, and our data shows the NHS is battling declining interest in nursing,” said Mr Richards.
“Nursing and other NHS jobs have to be made more attractive”
“Nursing is a challenging job with long and antisocial hours but at the same time nurses enjoy a unique sense of social responsibility, trust and respect, as well as a profession which provides variety and opportunity.”
Commenting on the analysis, Unison head of health Sara Gorton told Nursing Times: “There are now fewer nurses per head in England than any time over the past decade.
“Nursing and other NHS jobs have to be made more attractive by tackling the stress and heavy workloads that are driving people away from jobs they love.
“Guaranteeing a decent pay rise every year would help, while better financial support for students will build skills for the future.”