Another 5,600 nurses are needed for Malaga province to bring it in line with the European average, according to a report from the General Nursing Council. It shows that Malaga, with 497 nurses per 100,000 inhabitants, has the second-lowest number in Andalucía after Almeria (481/1000).
The average ratio in Andalucía is 529, but for Europe it is 827. The figures show that Andalucía needs another 25,000 nurses, and Spain as a whole more than 95,000.
José Miguel Carrasco, the president of the Malaga College of Nursing, said “if we want to increase the quality of care, it is essential that we fulfil the EU’s recommendations and have enough nurses to guarantee professional and quality care for patients”.
The report shows contrasts between different regions of Spain. Andalucía has the third-lowest level of nursing staff after Murcia and Galicia.
By province, Almeria with 481 nurses per 100,000 inhabitants has the lowest ratio, followed by Malaga (497), Huelva (499), Seville (507), Granada (523), Cadiz (568), Cordoba (587) and Jaén (611).
In Spain, Navarra is the province with the highest ratio and Cáceres, Álava and Soria are also above the European average.
At the other end of the scale, the lowest ratios are in Pontevedra, Guadalajara, Murcia, Ourense and Alicante.
The General Nursing Council considers the figures worrying and says the profession has requested a study to be done into the real needs of nurses and for a group of experts to be set up to plan for what the National Health Service will need for the next ten years.
“They will have to look not only at the figures that we have shown here in relation to national and European ratios, but the population we will have to look after in terms of ageing, births, geographical dispersion and the type of nursing specialists we need to train,” it has said.