Nurses look for way out of NHS

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The Independent Online
A CONFERENCE which advises nurses on how to develop a career in the private sector has attracted hundreds of disillusioned senior medics desperate to escape the NHS. It comes at a time when the Government faces its worst ever recruitment crisis in nursing.

Former nurse Tona Gorner, who is running the one-day course, said she had been "deluged" with enquiries from demoralised staff with years of experience. Within weeks of the conference being advertised, more than three quarters of the 200 seats were taken, mostly by senior nurses.

Although the conference offers advice for developing careers both inside and outside the NHS, it was clear where the delegates' interests lay. "It appears that most delegates are looking to pursue their careers outside the NHS," said Mrs Gorner, 37, who left the NHS herself to form the Medical Conferencing Company.

"They feel undervalued and frustrated in their career plans. Whilst many nurses are happy to work on the wards, there clearly is a substantial number of nurses who want to progress and who cannot do so in NHS environments," she said.

This week the United Kingdom Central Council of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting reported that one in four new nurses in Britain is being recruited from overseas while the number of those entering the profession has fallen to its lowest level since records began.

Earlier this month the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (ENB) said that in the past four years, the number of nurses in training had dropped by more than 8,000 - a decline of 15 per cent.

Mrs Gorner hopes that she can increase the number hoping to further their skills within the NHS. "We need to ensure that if nurses do reach a senior level, their skills need to be put to full use and efforts need to be made to retain those people," she said.