Responding to the National Audit Office (NAO) report The NHS nursing workforce, Nick Ville, policy director of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Workforce is by far the biggest challenge facing the NHS, with 94 per cent of health leaders telling us before the General Election that it should be a key priority for the incoming Government. The workforce shortfall means that frontline staff and managers are under considerable strain to provide patients with the best possible care.
“Next week’s Budget is an opportunity for the Government to make good on its promise of 50,000 more nurses with extra funding beyond the planned investment of £20.5 billion to create the additional posts needed to meet rising demand.
“Recruitment is only part of the solution as we also need to provide better support for existing staff so that we are more successful in retaining them as part of our current workforce. The pressure on the imminent People Plan to address this is building.
“It’s also imperative that the Government doesn’t lose sight of the fact that social care services are grossly understaffed with 122,000 vacancies. Without an appropriately funded social care system and an immigration system that supports the recruitment of overseas care workers, NHS services will continue to be stretched to breaking point and plans to transform how care is delivered in future will be at significant risk.”