Friday, November 11, 2005


But plenty of jobs for bureaucrats

Nurses who have just qualified are finding it difficult to get jobs in the NHS and are taking on other work to make ends meet, it has been claimed. The Nursing Standard magazine said that across Britain fresh graduates who had spent three years studying to become nurses were taking any job they could find - including in supermarkets and pubs. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found hot spots across England where new nurses are having trouble getting a job in the NHS. They include Birmingham, Coventry, Sheffield, Surrey and Durham, as well as Scotland and Wales.

The Nursing Standard said that one university in Hampshire had already told nursing students not to expect any jobs in the NHS. The RCN has blamed rising financial deficits in NHS trusts for recruitment freezes and cutbacks. Gill Robertson, an RCN student adviser, said: "This is a new problem relating to trust deficits and it's very worrying. "Every year you hear of glitches, say where 20 midwives can't get jobs, but this is very, very different. There is nowhere for them to get jobs. "It's difficult to track this problem because trusts are not parting with information and they are also masking the problem by giving nurses part-time contracts.

"The other problem is that overseas nurses are stuck in bottom grades and not being promoted - and this is blocking the path for newly-qualified nurses." Ms Robertson said the problem was particularly bad for nurses who qualified in September - but said things would get worse for students who graduate in February. Iain Kightley, a member of the RCN's Association of Nursing Students, added: "Out of those who qualified recently at my university (Stirling), 20 out of 65 didn't get jobs. "Some are thinking of quitting their courses and morale is quite low. People feel despondent after training for so long."

One nurse, Helen Scott, qualified at Stirling University in September but has been forced to take a job at her local pub because she cannot find work as a nurse. The 20-year-old earns £120 a week for working 40 hours, but will find herself on the dole this week when her job runs out. "I'm prepared to do anything. I'll work on the check-out - anything that pays me," she said. "It's a hard time to be out of work, coming up to Christmas. "I have applied for lots of jobs in nursing since the spring but there just isn't anything and I'm finding it very hard and it takes a long time to get replies to applications."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "There are still lots of jobs in the NHS but we don't have the shortages we once had and there is more competition now. "We still need more newly-qualified staff to replace those who retire or take career breaks, but new staff may not always be able to find their first-choice job in their first-choice location and may need to be more flexible. "This is an issue that needs to be addressed locally. "Workforce planners within Strategic Health Authorities are working closely with their local organisations to make sure that staff and students understand the range of opportunities that are available. "NHS Jobs, which advertises NHS vacancies, has hundreds of jobs for all staff groups." [Translation: There are still jobs in some sink hospitals where it is dangerous to live and work]



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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