The numbers of nurses around the world are falling further just as the Omicron coronavirus spreads, and there is also an imbalance as Western countries step up recruitment of healthcare workers from African and other poorer countries.
Many nurses are burned out from the Covid-19 pandemic and rates of “intention to leave” within a year have doubled to 20 to 30 per cent. At least 115,000 nurses have died from Covid-19, but it is said that this figure, which starts recording from the beginning of the pandemic through May, was conservative, and the true figure is probably twice that.
There was already a global shortage of 6 million nurses pre-pandemic and some 4.75 million nurses are due to retire over the next few years. On average, wealthy countries have nearly 10 times the rate of nurses in terms of their populations compared with poor nations, but many are recruiting overseas to staff their hospitals, he said, noting that the Philippines and India were traditional exporters.