Thursday, June 29, 2006
Nurses Off The Job
Now the NHS has hit the financial buffers, thousands of newly qualified medical staff are unable to find jobs. The Doc has recently blogged unemployed doctors, and today comes news of unemployed nurses:
"A survey of 20 universities suggested that more than 80% of nurses qualifying this summer have yet to find a job, compared to 30% this time last year...trusts have imposed recruitment freezes because of mounting deficits."
Obviously we feel for those who will now have to pursue Career Plan B at Tescos, but as taxpayers, what we really want to know is how much has our hopeless government wasted on their now unwanted training?
The facts are that it costs us about £30,000 to train a nurse (excluding any costs incurred in training placements in hospitals etc). And since current throughput (degree and diploma) is about 20,000 students pa, the waste for this year alone is of the order of £0.5bn. Another £0.5bn.
There are two points to draw out.
First, what we are witnessing is just one more example of a Big Government boom and bust cycle. Given the slightest chance, our commissars will always turn on the resource taps to max- irrespective of whether the system can stand the strain. In nursing the number of new registrations doubled between 1998 and 2004, achievable only by vastly increasing the recruitment of dubiously qualified overseas nurses, and by dropping the entry standards for UK trainees.
Between 1998 and 2001, overseas nurse recruitment quadrupled to 15,000 pa. Meanwhile, rejection rates for UK training courses have fallen, so that for example only 4% of trainees now have any A levels. Anyone who has had recent experience of an NHS hospital will be only too aware of the consequences.
Second, the cost of training nurses is as nothing compared to the cost of training those unemployed Docs the Doc blogs about. On average it costs us taxpayers £250,000 to train a doctor, and that's without taking account of the costs of hospital placements etc. So if we don't then employ them, we are burning money at a quite phenomenal rate (all figures taken from The Education and Training of Medical and Health Professionals in Higher Education Institutions from the Higher Education Policy Institute, November 2005)
Ps I'm going to investigate the economics of doctor training more closely. We are spending well north of £2bn pa on training doctors and dentists. Most dentists then work in the private sector, and as Doc Crippen tells us, GPs are now paid like rock stars. So... er, where's the taxpayer value?
Posted by Mike D at 11:38 am