NHS delivering for patients in face of severe staff shortages and budget pressures

05 October 2022

In response to prime minister Liz Truss' Conservative Party conference speech today, NHS Providers' interim chief executive Saffron Cordery said:

"Trust leaders share the prime minister's desire for the NHS to deliver for patients, and the need to tackle fundamental problems affecting urgent and emergency care, ambulances and backlogs – as well as bolstering social care.

"Everyone in the NHS is dedicated to delivering high-quality care, as under-pressure staff work flat out in highly challenging conditions. Many health services are delivering above pre-pandemic levels and the longest waits for planned treatment have been virtually eliminated. GPs today are seeing more people than they did before the pandemic too.

"But soaring inflation eating into already stretched NHS budgets means that, in effect, trust leaders have even less money to meet ever-growing demand – on top of the extra cost to national NHS budgets of the government's failure to fully fund below-inflation staff pay awards this year.

"And with 132,000-plus vacancies across trusts, on top of many more in other overstretched health and social care services, we reiterate our call for ministers to produce a long-term, fully costed and fully funded workforce plan to help the NHS attract and retain desperately needed staff."