6,000 mental health nurses lost in 10 years

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned that the total mental health nursing workforce has decreased by 10.6 per cent since 2009.

Despite commitments from both Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron to boost resources for mental health services, mental health nurse numbers are down by 25.9 per cent in acute care and inpatient care, representing a loss of  6,000 nurses over the decade. The numbers of mental health nurses have grown in some areas, such as community care.

Donna Kinnair, RCN chief executive and general secretary, commented: “Thousands of experienced professionals have been lost in recent years as the investment failed to match the rhetoric,” she will say. “The shortage of beds, too, leaves vulnerable people often sent hundreds of miles from home and their loved ones for the care they need. As a country and a health service, we are letting down people who must be able to rely on us most. We must draw a line under this and allocate serious resources to mental health care, including the right number of staff.”

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