Fix serious workforce shortages to ease NHS and social care overload

21 October 2022

Responding to a Care Quality Commission assessment of a 'gridlocked' health and care system, NHS Providers' interim chief executive Saffron Cordery said:

"The regulator's hard-hitting report makes clear that people's care is affected by chronic staff shortages across the health and care system and must be a wake-up call for the government.

"At a time when the government ought to be focussed on fixing the big issues and problems affecting the NHS and social care, and ultimately patients, the backdrop of political confusion and uncertainty is a worrying diversion.

"As demand for NHS services continues to rise, ahead of a busy winter and amid the rising cost of living, government attention is needed to address long-standing challenges in our health and care system, including workforce planning and better investment in capital to shore up safe and effective buildings and equipment for a modern-day service.

"Inadequate funding for and lack of capacity in social care have serious knock-on effects on an overloaded NHS. People need support to stay well and live independently in the community which would in many cases prevent, or delay, the need for hospital care.

"But the worrying state of the social care sector – inextricably linked with the NHS – means many people face long hold-ups to getting the care they need. It also means that hospitals struggle to discharge patients well enough to recover at or closer to home, which badly affects admissions including in A&E and the handover of patients from waiting ambulances. More is needed from government to place social care on a sustainable footing.

"The regulator acknowledges that health and care staff are doing their best to keep people safe, and most people receive good care, but without a fully funded, long-term workforce plan from the government the NHS and the social care sector will continue to struggle to meet ever-growing demand with too few staff."