Written evidence submitted by Sue Ryder Written Evidence

         Nursing workforce shortages are persisting across both palliative and neurological care, and indeed across the health and social care sector as a whole. If the current situation continues, the NHS will be placed under more and more pressure as the number of nurses fails to keep up with demand.

         Planning to meet the NHS nursing workforce should not take place in isolation. Nurses work for a range of other employers outside of the NHS and, as the system moves towards integration with STPs/ICSs, this is likely to become increasingly the case. A systems approach is required; however at present local partnerships vary in their readiness and capacity to take on wider workforce planning.

         As part of a systems approach, it is important to model NHS nursing workforce planning on genuine population needs. Local Workforce Action Boards must consider all the services their population need, not just the NHS. The response to COVID-19 has underlined how palliative and other social care services are vital partners in frontline care delivery.


July 2020


Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassionate and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can. We take the time to understand what’s important to people and give them choice and control over their care. We see a future where our palliative and neurological care reaches more communities; where we can help more people begin to cope with bereavement; and where everyone can access the quality care they deserve.


Across the UK we have six hospices and associated community palliative care services, one standalone community palliative care service and four specialist neurological centres. We also provide bereavement support via our Online Bereavement Community and Online Bereavement Counselling, in addition to that provided by our family support teams in our hospices.


[1] Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Dee View Court has a Band 7 Nurse vacancy rate of 55%; Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice has a Band 3 Nurse Assistant vacancy rate of 53% (June 2020)


[2] Sue Ryder warns of increase in need for palliative care as a residual impact of coronavirus pandemic, Sue Ryder, (16 June 2020), www.sueryder.org/news/sue-ryder-warns-of-increase-in-need-for-palliative-care-as-a-residual-impact-of-coronavirus


[3] Study conducted by DATA-CAN, the Health Care Research Hub (HDR UK) for Cancer, BBC News (6 July 2020), www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53300784