Health organisations raise under-staffing concerns
Six healthcare organisations have united to pen a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office regarding urgent investment to tackle the issue of chronic NHS understaffing. Among those involved are: the NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, and Unison. They warn the Prime Minister in the letter of NHS staff leaving the system and issues resulting from difficulties from this as the NHS is strained with addressing the backlog in procedures and care.
Extra funding will need to be delivered to ensure additional staff are hired, the letter says. Added to this is funding which supports current staff that takes into account added costs by the fall-out from COVID-19 such as the vaccine roll-out and a new treatment push for Long COVID. The letter asks the Prime Minister to be candid and forthcoming about the true costs of educating and training more staff for the NHS, how long this would take and whether workers will need to be attracted and recruited from overseas (and how this should be approached).
Additional funding in tackling the staffing problem will help to ensure the NHS is not held back from delivering on its ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers said: “We must see a fully costed and funded national workforce plan, so we stop asking NHS frontline staff to bear an unsustainable workload shift after shift, week after week.” He calls for NHS staff to be provided with a reasonable workload and to have a work-life balance that has not been available to them throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said: “Improved clarity on workforce planning now would make a huge difference to the way healthcare systems and the staff within them are able to operate in future.”