The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has issued a briefing to Peers in the House of Lords ahead of the Health and Care Bill report stage starting on 1 March 2022.
The RCP has welcomed several government amendments on health inequalities and clinical research. These amendments reflect several key calls the RCP has been making alongside other key health and care sector organisations, including making clear that health inequalities is part of the triple aim and ensuring NHS England facilitates clinical research as part of its duty to promote research.
Workforce, however, remains a blind spot in the Health and Care Bill. The coalition of almost 100 health and care organisations is encouraging peers to speak in support of and vote for the amendment to Clause 35 tabled by Baroness Cumberlege, Lord Stevens of Birmingham, Baroness Thornton and Baroness Walmsley.
The amendment would give a national, independent view of how many health and social care staff are needed to keep pace with projected patient demand over the next 5, 10 and 20 years. Without it, the bill will fail to address the biggest challenge facing the NHS and social care – staffing shortages and pressures.
Workforce is one of the biggest limiting factors for the government’s ambitions on health and care and sustainably delivering NHS care in the long-term. A lack of staff is a key cause of burnout among healthcare workers, and will impact our ability to bring down waiting lists.
Regular, independent public workforce projection data will not solve the workforce crisis. But having a collective national picture of the health and care staff numbers needed now and in future to meet demand will provide the strongest foundations to take long-term strategic long-term decisions about funding, regional and specialty shortages, skill mix and underpin a long-term workforce strategy. We hope progress will be made on including regular workforce projections in the bill given the strong cross-party and sector support.