Pandemic report shines light on cracks in the healthcare system

05 June 2023

Responding to the TUC report on austerity and pandemic, which finds that staffing levels in health and social care were undermined by multiple years of pay caps and pay freezes, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers said: "Long-standing cracks in the healthcare system meant the NHS entered the pandemic from a disadvantaged position.

"Successive years of pay caps and pay freezes in the run-up contributed to challenges for staff recruitment and retention, depleting the health and social care workforce. Worryingly, this is a persistent issue with nearly 280,000 gaps across both sectors unfilled and some unions still striking due to dissatisfaction with pay.

"Trust leaders want to see an urgent resolution to the ongoing pay disputes through discussions between both sides in good faith. The long-term workforce plan for NHS staff, which must be fully funded and costed by the government, would go a long way to address these staffing issues.

"It is desperately needed, as is one for social care, whose workforce funding was halved recently."