According to NHS England data, there were 1,266 fewer nurses in Yorkshire and the Humber at the election in May than there were in 2010.
A report on NHS productivity by Lord Carter, who spent a year working with 22 hospital trusts, including Mid Yorkshire and Leeds, said there had been a 29 per cent increase in the rate of nurses leaving the profession in the last two years. Between 2012 and 2014, the dependency on agency nurses doubled.
One former NHS nurse, who recently left a large West Yorkshire hospital trust after three years, said she felt compelled to leave as the stresses of the job were making her ill.
She was diagnosed with anxiety-based depression and now works at a private hospital.
She said: “Some agency staff are amazing, and have just left the trust in order to pick and choose their own hours. But some I couldn’t leave to work autonomously, without checking their work, which doubled my own workload. A lot of us felt undervalued.
“We had no or minimal access to developmental training, and the agency staff would get paid more for a shift with an easier workload. Being a nurse is more of a calling than a job, I’m just so glad I’ve found somewhere I could feel happy.”