General election 2019: Can the NHS boost nurse numbers by 50,000?

NHS staff Image copyright Getty Images

The Conservative manifesto pledges to add 50,000 nurses to the workforce in England by 2024-25.

How realistic is this target, particularly given that nurse numbers have gone up by only about 5,000 since 2010?

Workforce is one of the main concerns for the NHS in England right now. Health employers talk of difficulties filling rotas and worries about how future staff can be recruited at a time of rising patient demand.

In an attempt to address that, the Conservatives have said that if re-elected they would take action to address the problem.

This will be achieved, according to the party, by training more staff, international recruitment and better retention of existing nurses.

Number of nurses

NHS England, full time equivalent at September of each year

Source: NHS Digital. In 2009, there was a methodology change so numbers not directly comparable.

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