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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Graduate nurses 'left unemployed'
Almost a third of newly qualified nurses cannot find work
Nearly a third of newly qualified nurses had not found a job six months after qualifying, figures show.

And over half of physiotherapist graduates were unemployed, along with one in five midwives, according to a government census in March 2007.

Experts said it was a 'waste of money' to train nurses who could then not find a permanent job.

But the Department of Health said it expected vacancies to become available in the normal cycle of staff turnover.

Not only is this a waste of tax payers' money but it is a waste of new and much needed nursing talent
Dr Peter Carter

About 9,000 nurses qualified between May and September 2006, but only 69% were employed six months later, meaning nearly 3,000 were unemployed.

Some 80% of midwives had found a job, but only 48% of physiotherapists had done so.

And last year a survey by the Royal College of Nursing found that almost three quarters of newly qualified nurses were still searching for a permanent job months after qualifying.

Of these nurses, 85% said they would consider changing professions if the recruitment problems continued.

Waste of money

Dr Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "I am hearing worrying stories from recently qualified nurses who are unable to get jobs because trusts are freezing entry level posts to save money.

"Not only is this a waste of tax payers' money but it is a waste of new and much needed nursing talent."

He said the longer newly qualified nurses spent not working, the harder it became for them to find a first job, so that they might be lost from the profession forever.

Maximising employment

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "The NHS currently has a healthy supply of new graduates thanks to increased investment in training, at a time when the NHS has hit a surplus.

"This does not mean unemployment, it means there is keen competition in some parts of the country.

"There is a lot of work taking place to ensure graduates are placed, to maximise employment possibilities.

"A workforce the size of the NHS is constantly in flux and we expect vacancies to become available in the natural cycle of staff turnover."

In April this year, the Social Partnership Forum Action Plan, a scheme to boost employment opportunities for newly qualified healthcare professionals in the NHS, was launched.

The scheme sets out recommendations for employers, trade unions and the education sector to maximise employment.


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