Not enough nurses
The World Health Organization estimates an extra six million nurses are needed globally.
COVID-19 has exposed the world’s health systems to the ultimate stress test.
Healthcare workers have accounted for around 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases globally, according to the International Council of Nurses, a federation of national nursing associations. The disease has killed at least 1500 nurses.
The pandemic has also revealed the desperate shortages of nurses globally and the reliance of many rich countries, including Australia, on foreign-trained nurses, to the detriment of poorer countries.
In Britain, foreign-trained nurses account for 15 per cent of the nursing workforce. Brexit has compounded the country’s nursing shortage. Last year fewer than 1000 European nurses registered to work in Britain, compared with 9389 four years earlier, reported The Economist.
In Australia, a federal Department of Health report projected a shortfall of 85,000 nurses by 2025 and 123,000 by 2030.
The Philippines and India are the world’s biggest exporters of nurses, but both countries face shortages too, even though both countries train more nurses than they need.
In a developed nation like Britain, there are more than eight nurses per 1000 people, compared with less than five in the Philippines and two in India.
The WHO calculates the Philippines will face a shortfall of almost 250,000 nurses by 2030. Nurses in these countries often face widespread unemployment, low wages and poor career opportunities, which encourages graduates to move abroad.
‘The Philippines and India are the world’s biggest exporters of nurses, but both countries face shortages too.’