The first is a shortage of doctors and nurses – there simply aren’t enough to meet demand. Data from a BBC Freedom of Information request shows that between 2013 and 2015, there has been a 50% increase in nursing vacancies, rising from 12,513 to 18,714. Meanwhile, the number of nursing vacancies across England, Wales and Northern Ireland reached 23,443 by the end of December – equivalent to 9% of the workforce. In comparison, the average vacancy rate across the UK economy was 2.7%. With a lack of qualified staff, the system struggles under demand, and a backlog develops.