Responding to the House of Lords voting in support of an amendment1 to the Health and Care Bill that will require the Government to publish regular health and care workforce projections, Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, said:
“The NHS and care services are nothing without their staff. People are unable to receive much-needed care and treatments if there are not enough expert health and care workers to help them.
“It’s good that this simple message is getting through, and today’s move from the Lords to accept this amendment shows that they recognise the importance of holding the Government to account for proper workforce planning.
“Just today figures showed that we have more than 110,000 vacancies in England’s hospitals alone, more than 8,000 of which were for doctors, and separate data shows we have lost the equivalent of 279 full-time, fully-qualified GPs in England over the past year. Meanwhile the BMA estimates England has a shortage of around 50,000 doctors compared with our most comparable EU neighbours.
“These stark figures underscore the need for urgent action to train, recruit and retain the staff required to meet the growing needs of patients across the health service.
“We urge the Government to heed to the message sent from peers today, as well as the expert voices within the 100 health and care organisations, think tanks and charities who have consistently backed this amendment2, and for MPs to keep it within the Bill as it progresses through Parliament. If they ignore these calls, they will not only be failing staff and health and care services, but failing their constituents – who are the very patients relying on them.”