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MPs to Examine How to End Staff Drain from NHS and Social Care

Reasons behind staff leaving the health and social care sectors and how to tackle them will be examined in a new inquiry. Workforce recruitment and training will also be explored.

The Health and Social Care Committee says it has heard repeatedly that more staff will be needed to meet future demand and deal with the backlog caused by the pandemic. Existing staff shortages affect the current delivery of services to patients.

Evidence has cited poor workforce planning, weak policy and fragmented responsibilities as contributing to a workforce crisis, exacerbated by the lack of a national NHS workforce strategy.

It has been estimated that by 2030/31, up to almost half a million extra health care staff would be needed to meet the pressures of demand and recover from the pandemic – the equivalent of a 40% increase in the workforce.

Solutions to be considered include reducing the training period for doctors, removing a cap on the number of medical places offered to international and domestic students, and the ideal balance between the domestic and international recruitment of health and social care workers.

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:  “We are facing a workforce crisis in health and social care of such proportions that it risks undermining every plan to tackle the backlog, meet the demands of an ageing population, and fix social care.

“It is deeply disappointing that the government yesterday rejected the chance to overhaul workforce planning to make sure we are training enough doctors and nurses for the future so this new inquiry will look in detail at every aspect of staff training, recruitment and retention to help make the momentum for change unstoppable.

“Welcome though the new funding for the NHS is, without staff to spend it on we risk disappointing patients and demoralising staff.”

The Workforce recruitment, training and retention in health and social care inquiry builds on recommendations of previous reports, Social care: funding and workforce published last year and  Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care published in June.