Immediate action on NHS workforce shortages must be top priority
21 March 2019
- The King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation publish a joint report on NHS workforce challenges titled ‘Closing the Gap’.
- It calls for an expansion of nurse training, with cost of living grants of £5,200 a year and a tripling in the number of people training as postgraduates.
- It calls for a £900m increase in the annual budget for training and developing health care workers in England by 2023/24.
- It calls for the NHS to become a better employer so that fewer people want to leave. For example requiring letting more people near retirement work part-time.
The head of policy at NHS Providers, Amber Jabbal said:
“Making sure that health and care services have the right level and mix of skilled staff they need to run services safely for patients has been the number one concern of trust leaders for some time now.
“It has to be the top priority for the government as well. There are 100,000 vacancies across NHS trusts and many more in primary and social care. We will not meet the broad ambitions of the long term plan if we do not urgently tackle this growing problem.
We will not meet the broad ambitions of the long term plan if we do not urgently tackle this growing problem.
“In this report, the three independent health think tanks have come together on this important issue to put forward a sensible, shared analysis of the challenge and a practical mix of short term and long term actions which would help to close the growing gap of workforce shortages. Without immediate action, it is clear that this problem, particularly shortages of nurses and GPs, will only get worse. This will have a real impact on the quality of care services can provide.
“Urgently, we need to promote better work/life balance and career development, ensure staff feel valued and stay within the NHS and secure guarantees that we can continue to recruit internationally following Brexit.
Without immediate action, it is clear that this problem, particularly shortages of nurses and GPs, will only get worse. This will have a real impact on the quality of care services can provide.
“Boosting domestic supply is at the heart of a longer-term sustainable solution. However, to do this, we will need to see adequate investment in training budgets which sit outside the recent NHS funding settlement. We also need to ensure that applicants from all walks of life are supported through their training and into careers within the NHS.
“We look forward to the publication of the workforce implementation plan next month. This must set out some concrete, viable and immediate steps to secure a sustainable future NHS workforce.”