Government Must Invest In Workforce As NHS Faces Growing Vacancies

Commenting on the latest NHS Digital vacancy data, Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation and chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “These figures paint a bleak picture: the NHS is still facing chronic workforce shortages, and they are getting worse, even with recent increases in staff numbers to cover areas such as the vaccination programme. Although overall headcount seems to be relatively stable, there is an alarming trend across the NHS of rising levels of vacancies, with the biggest issues in nursing, and especially in acute and mental health posts.

“These posts urgently need to be filled to make sure our communities receive the best care possible, and also to alleviate the strain our teams continue to face, against a backdrop of spiralling workloads and ever-growing backlogs of treatment.

“There is also a clear indication of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, backlogs of care and the increased demand in all services and settings. Staff remain under huge pressure, as demonstrated by the fact stress, anxiety, depression and mental health remain the biggest cause of sickness absence across the health service. NHS employers are very concerned about the relentless demand being placed on their teams.

“The government must agree with the NHS what is reasonable to expect in service delivery terms, particularly in light of the long-term shortages of key staff. There must also be significant and sustained long-term investment in growing health and social care workforce numbers in the forthcoming spending review.”

 

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