London comes together to tackle nurse shortages

The NHS in London is collaborating with partners across the capital to combat shortages in nursing.

The CapitalNurse Programme is a project of collective action between directors of nursing and HR directors from service providers, NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, education providers, Sustainability and Transformation Plans, trade unions and professional organisations who have agreed to collaborate to bring about sustainable solutions to tackle nursing shortages in the city.

The initiatives to recruit and keep hold of nurses include an employment guarantee for London educated nurses, offering new registrants a high quality preceptorship programme – where newly qualified nurses are paired with a registered nurse – rotation schemes, practice study tours to Canada and the US and career clinics. The programme also streamlines recruitment and transfer processes and standardises postgraduate training to ease the process from graduation to employment in London.

Details of the programme will be set out to delegates at this year’s NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo on the 12 September in Manchester, where Programme Director Chris Caldwell and Jane Clegg, Director of Nursing and Deputy Regional Chief Nurse at NHS England (London) will present their work.

London has this greatest challenge around nursing shortages nationally – RCN estimates from its most recent survey of directors of nursing earlier this year suggest that one third of 40,000 national vacancies are in London.

Jane Clegg, Director of Nursing and Regional Deputy Chief Nurse for NHS England (London) said:   “We know that there are huge barriers to working as a nurse in London. Housing, childcare and travel costs are rising far quicker than salaries, which is driving more and more nurses to live further away, and which could eventually them out of the profession altogether.

Yet, London has a huge amount to offer nurses – with world class hospitals and community services, and fantastic training opportunities. We are determined to do more to create nurse friendly employment opportunities in London, which mean that we can not only hire great nurses, but keep them too.”

“We want to get nursing right for London. The Capital Nurse programme will help us to create an engaged, valued and skilled nursing workforce that can deliver excellent care for patients, wherever it is needed.”

The programme aims to benefit all NHS employers in the capital, where trusts in London alone are currently spending over £14 million each month on agency nursing.

It includes ambitious plans to engage London nurses, HR professionals and managers at all levels to help find solutions and share examples of good practice, as well as enabling universities and employers to make the most of the unique and attractive career development opportunities for nurses working in London.

There are three work streams:


  • Attracting students to choose nursing degree programmes in London and supporting them through graduation and registration;
  • Supporting partnerships with between local employers and higher education institutes;
  • Learning from current students to build an evidence base on what influences choices;
  • Standardised postgraduate training.


  • Guaranteed employment for London trained nurses;
  • Streamlining employment processes through collaboration and local engagement with Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships;
  • Smooth recruitment pathways.


  • Streamlining career progression;
  • Spreading ‘nurse friendly’ employment ppractices which ensure that nurses feel engaged, valued and developed throughout their working life;
  • Attractive opportunities including the chance to pair up with experienced nurses, rotation schemes, practice study tours and career clinics.

Notes to editors:

  • The Capital Nurse Programme was established in July 2015 as a programme of collective action to secure a sustainable Nursing Workforce for London. It is collaboration between Directors of Nursing and HR Directors from service providers, Health Education, NHS England, NHS Improvement, universities, education providers, CCGs, trade union and professional organisations
  • The CapitalNurse Programme will feature as a Theatre Session at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo on Tuesday 12 September. Health and Care Innovation Expo will be held on 11 and 12 September 2017 at Manchester Central. The core purpose of Expo is to help leaders in the NHS, local authorities and beyond to work together for whole-system change and improvement.

For more information please contact the NHS England (London) press office on 020 3182 4984 or email