According to a recent report published in the name of " Think Differently", NHS (National Health Service) is anticipating serious workforce shortage. Cancer clinicians specifically specialist nurses are unable to come up with the requirements of an increased number of patients. Furthermore, this report also highlighted the fact that the sudden increase in complex cases has also deteriorated the professional skills of nurses.
The previous deficit of 3400 clinical specialist nurses will steadily increase and by the end of 2030 it may go up to 7000 all over the UK. This is surely an alarming sign because the situation will transform from bad to worse. Conversely, specialist nurses are leaving the profession hence it is becoming more and more difficult to replace the vacant positions with the same professionals.
The specialist nurses have also reported that their working hours have been increased. Since, they are involved in performing non technical tasks most of the time. One nursing specialist revealed that she doesn't want to become a photocopier because she is a specialist nurse, the report described. Furthermore, one third of nurses will be retired in the next 10 years.
However, the current situation indicates that these nursing specialists will not be replaced quite easily. The report further stated that the Health Education England (HEE) must evaluate the prevailing issue of cancer workforce in detail. On the other hand, Dr Rosie Loftus who works as a joint chief medical officer at the Charity emphasized that NHS professionals are taking this scenario very lightly.
As per the viewpoint of Dr Fran Woodard executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan echoed, workforce issues must be responded as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the professionals will not be able to maintain the required standard of care.
In response to this report, Rob Smith who is a director of Strategy and Planning at HEE told that HEE has already started developing a long term strategy to curb this issue. The organization is also working on the suggestions provided by cancer taskforce in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support.
As far as our viewpoint is concerned, the current situation demands commitment and demonstration of proactive approach from all the stakeholders. It is a matter of specialist nurses and patients because patients are the main beneficiaries of the whole process after all. The nurses should also be provided maximum level of attention including all the perks and other benefits.By doing so, the situation may improve to certain extent in the future. There is no other option left except taking care of the nurses since they must be assumed as the lifeblood of any healthcare setup.