The need for healthcare workers is more important than ever before. The World Health
Organisation has released a statement describing the situation as severe across Europe and
the UK. The shortage has caused WHO to encourage the healthcare industry to recruit, train
and retain the future of healthcare workers.
A new report by the organisation looking at number of nurses vs the population discovered
that overall, the United Kingdom sits far behind countries in the EU. The report also reveals
the number of NHS nurse shortages in England has reached a record high of nearly 47,000.
Reports from 2020 looking at the nursing situation in abroad shows that there were
between 100-200 nurses per 10,000 people in western/northern Europe. Compared to 85
per 10,000 in the UK. We are also training less healthcare workers than other countries – we
need to act within the next ten years to ensure that the staff is replaced when a generation
of workers eventually retire.
The pandemic of COVID-19 is believed to have significantly increased pre-existed pressures
within the healthcare industry. Introducing longer working hours, unfit working
environments and a higher death rate – all factors taking its toll on nurses and doctors who
had been in the profession for years.
The regional director of WHO Europe, DR Hans Kluge commented on the situation:
“All of these threats represent a ticking time bomb which, if not addressed, is likely to lead
to poor health outcomes across the board, long waiting times for treatment, many
preventable deaths, and potentially even health system collapse. The time to act on health
and care workforce shortages is now.”
Howard Catton, the Chief Executive of International council of nurses also made comment:
“This cannot wait. We need action now, not some five or ten-year plan that never comes to
In summary, the World Health Organisation has stated 10 recommendations to help
strengthen the health care workforce: touching on education, protecting mental health and
wellbeing of the staff and promoting a healthy, positive work life balance.