“What’s happening in the NHS right now is an immediate crisis. 520 thousand people waited more than four hours at A&E last month. Hundreds of patients are dying each week due to delays in emergency care.”
By Just Treatment
Today the government finally released its much-delayed NHS Workforce Plan.
13 years of Conservative government decisions have resulted in the unprecedented crisis facing our NHS right now. So how can we trust them to fix the mess they created? This plan falls far short of what’s needed – here’s why.
The plan aims to increase training places to 15k a year by 2031, and to recruit 60k more doctors and 170k more nurses by 2037. But what about the 110,000 vacancies now? It will take years before this expansion will even begin to have an impact.
What’s more, to deliver on these promises the government has pledged just £2.4 billion over 5 years. This a drop in the ocean given the scale of the crisis the NHS faces. And it comes after years of well below-average investment in healthcare in comparison to similar European countries.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed the plan will “keep hold of the amazing staff we already have in the NHS.” Yet, without anything on pay, how is this feasible? Changes around pensions, flexibility and development don’t mean much when you’re struggling to make ends meet after years of real terms pay cuts.
Without addressing these pressing retention issues through better pay and conditions, all this plan will do is push more people into training only for them to burn out shortly after. And if we can’t retain the trainers, how will the trainees be taught? This is far from a sustainable plan.
The plan also overlooks the desperate shortage in non-clinical roles – porters, cleaners, 999 call handlers – and the urgent need to fix social care. Without this, the NHS will continue having to cope with the fallout of a broken system.
What’s happening in the NHS right now is an immediate crisis. 520 thousand people waited more than four hours at A&E last month. Hundreds of patients are dying each week due to delays in emergency care. We need urgent action, not plans that will take years to have an impact and that lack long-term financial clarity.
We’ve seen numerous plans before – the COVID backlog plan, the Build Back Better plan, the NHS Long Term Plan – all with a common thread of unfulfilled promises. Yet the situation has only become more stark and dangerous.
To truly fix the mess the government has created, we need:
- An inflation-busting 15% pay rise for staff
- Health spending that matches France & Germany – at least £30bn more per year
- Reversal of the marketisation of health
- Proper investment in public health & social care
If you want to help hold the government to account on its failures and fight for meaningful action to safeguard the future of our NHS.
- You can join Just Treatment to be a part of the fight for the future of our NHS and hear the latest from the campaign here, and donate to the campaign fundraiser here.
- You can follow and support Just Treatment on Facebook and Twitter.
- This article was originally published by Just Treatment on June 30th, 2023.