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A fifth of primary care nurses could leave the NHS

One fifth of primary care nurses have considered retirement instead of revalidation, a new survey by Independent Nurse (IN) Magazine has revealed

Posted: 16 February 2016

In the survey – answered by 508 primary care nurses – 20 per cent said that they would retire early or knew of colleagues who would retire early as new requirements for revalidation are introduced this April.

Seeta Bhardwa, news editor of IN who conducted the survey, said: “The good news is that 58 per cent of nurses had a positive impression of what revalidation could bring to the profession, but nursing leaders need to engage in communicating those benefits and ironing out any teething problems as the process rolls out.”

When asked about revalidation, concerns were raised regarding the requirements of completing the process, the reliance on technology, and a widespread belief that the process has been designed with secondary care nurses in mind.

Mike Shallcross, editor of Independent Nurse, said: “On the back of many junior doctors’ disillusionment over the new contract and the proposed withdrawal of nursing bursaries, this introduces yet another level of uncertainty into the shape of the NHS workforce.

“The difference here is that practice nurses are among the more senior workers in the NHS and their years of experience and professional expertise are a huge boon to younger colleagues.”

This survey comes after the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) published a report on general practice nursing earlier this year, revealing that 33.4 per cent of practice nurses are due to retire by 2020.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the QNI, said: “The number of nurses planning to retire should be of major concern and we need to ensure that enough nurses are attracted to the profession so that patients can continue to receive high quality nursing care for themselves and their families when they attend the GP’s surgery.”

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), more than 15 per cent of nurses and midwives in the first group to go through revalidation in April have started their application, two months ahead of deadline.

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Jackie Smith, said: “It is excellent news that such an encouraging number of nurses and midwives from the first group to revalidate have already started their applications.

“This shows that they have a real motivation to get the process started, complete their revalidation applications successfully and on time, and continue to deliver high standards of care.”