Bracknell’s Health Service, like the rest of England, is facing a ‘workforce crisis’ as the share of homegrown doctors and nurses joining is at its lowest for seven years, BBC Shared Data Unit analysis of workforce data has found.
The BBC’s Shared Data Unit analysed workforce data provided by NHS Digital from 2015 to 2021, to investigate NHS staff trends following the 2016 Brexit referendum.
From within the European Union (EU), the share of recruits joining England’s NHS each year fell from 11 per cent in 2015 to 6 per cent last year. Whilst at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, the share fell by 3.2 per cent over the same period.
However, EU staff figures actually rose by 2.7 per cent at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
The figures also reveal that, at Frimley, the share of UK staff joining the trust dropped by 11.2 percentage points between 2015 and 2021. The number of staff joining the hospital from the UK during that period is 95, however, 114 have left over the same time.
Frimley Health’s workforce has grown by 34 per cent since 2015, but much of this increase has come from staff recruited from outside the UK – excluding the EU.
The share of staff recruited from the Rest of the World rose by 14.4 percentage points. Between 2015 and 2021, 50 staff from the Rest of the World left, an increase of 2.5 per cent on pre 2015 levels, however, 291 joined over the same period.
These trends are reflected across the borough, where the Royal Berkshire has also seen the share of staff joining from the UK fall by 15 per cent and the share joining from the Rest of World rise by 12.3 per cent.
The BBC’s analysis found that this trend is mirrored across England, with the share of UK doctors joining the health service falling from 69 per cent in 2015 to 58 per cent last year. Over the same period, the share of new UK nurses fell from 74 per cent to 61 per cent.
Recruitment of doctors from the Rest of the World rose from 18 per cent to 34 per cent per cent over the same period, and that share of international nurses rose from 7 per cent to 34 per cent.
The government said overseas recruitment had always been part of its strategy, but unions have warned it is an unsustainable way of recruiting in the long-term and the British Medical Association told the BBC that the NHS faced a “workforce crisis”
The government insists there were record numbers of doctors, a rise of 34 per cent since 2010, but critics say declining domestic recruitment was unsustainable to keep pace with demand.
A report by the cross-party Commons health and social care select committee concluded the large number of unfilled NHS job vacancies, about 110,000 in total, was posing a serious risk to patient safety.
Chief executive of NHS Employers, Danny Mortimer, said it was “high time for the government to commit to a fully-funded, long-term workforce plan for the NHS” to tackle “chronic workforce shortages”.