WORKFORCE: Practice nursing is facing a future workforce crisis in the East of England, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.

Research suggests the overwhelming majority of practice nurses in the region are aged over 40 and nearly half are approaching retirement age.

A survey of 90 practice nurses across Eastern England was carried out by the RCN during August and September. It found 98% of respondents were aged over 40, of which 42% were aged 40-49, 48% were 50-59 and 8% were 60-69.

Karen Webb, RCN director for the Eastern region, said: “The fact that only 2% of practice nurses are under the age of 40 is frightening. Unless steps are taken to recruit new practice nurses and address this demographic issue, primary care will really struggle to provide care.”

RCN Eastern primary care adviser Kellie Norris added: “Clinical commissioners need to seriously consider the future of practice nursing as there is a real issue with… the age of the current workforce.”