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BMA ‘Despair’ at MPs’ Rejection of Workforce Amendment in Commons

Responding to MPs rejecting an amendment to the Health and Care Bill that would have placed a much-needed legal duty on the Westminster Government to be transparent about the number of staff health and care services need in England, Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, said:

“Frontline health and care workers will despair at the Government’s now repeated refusal to demonstrate its commitment to safely staff our hospitals, GP practices and other health and care services.

“Any doctor or colleague will tell you that the NHS is desperately understaffed – as will patients who also bear the brunt of long waits and staff shortages. Without a shared national picture of the numbers of staff we need, now and in the future, we won’t know whether we are training enough healthcare staff to meet the needs of the population. It is incredibly simple. Yet the Government continues to refuse to commit to producing such an assessment.

“As we said last week when we urged the Health Secretary to reconsider and back this amendment, supported by more than 100 influential and expert organisations and politicians from across party lines, many will now rightly be asking “what exactly has the Government got to hide”?

“The BMA will continue to vociferously demand better workforce planning for the NHS, and we now urge peers to not let this issue drop, pushing back against the Government when the Bill returns to the House of Lords tomorrow.

“The Government still has an opportunity to listen to frontline clinicians. Today we have seen ministers compromise on a separate amendment2, providing some safeguards that should help ensure decisions over services are made in the interest of local patient need and not for political reasons. So, it is incredibly disappointing that they have not shown willing to do the same for guaranteeing we have enough staff to provide safe, timely care.”