MPs to investigate health care staffing shortages

MPs will investigate why health care staff are leaving the NHS, what they’re leaving for, and what can be done to attract new staff members.

The inquiry will look at possible solutions to the staffing crisis such as a shorter training period for doctors and to what extent the contracts currently being used are useful for staff retention.

The Health and Social Care Committee suggests that more staff will be needed to meet future demand and deal with the backlog caused by the pandemic.

Ministers have been warned of the crisis of recruitment, as one in five nursing posts on some wards are unfilled whilst around 100,000 NHS staffing vacancies were advertised in England in October.

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

The inquiry is asking questions such as:

  • What changes could be made to the initial and ongoing training of staff in the health and social care sectors in order to help increase the number of staff working in these sectors?
  • What is the best way to ensure that current plans for recruitment, training and retention are able to adapt as models for providing future care change?

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.’


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