- This research report attempts to clarify key issues in British nursing for health policy makers. It is specifically aimed at a non-nursing audience, in the hope that it will illuminate important aspects of workforce planning, management and health care delivery for NHS managers and other people concerned with British health policy. Traditionally, nursing practice and its organisation, management and future direction have been little discussed by policy makers outside nursing, despite the direct relevance of these subjects to the shape, quality and cost of health care as a whole. In an important sense, nursing issues have been marginal to the debates that have shaped British health policy since 1948. One of the premises underlying this report is that this situation needs to change. The probable scale of the nursing recruitment and retention difficulties of the next decade mean that the cost of nursing care is set to rise sharply. This, coupled with increasing concern to manages inputs to health care effectively, will concentrate managerial and policy attention on nursing policy and practice.