The RCP has issued a briefing to MPs ahead of the first health and social care oral question session with the new secretary of state, Steve Barclay MP.
Steve Barclay’s appointment as secretary of state for health and social care comes at a time when NHS staff are under ongoing pressure as they work to try and reduce the backlog of diagnostics and elective care, while continuing to provide urgent and emergency care.
There are now a record 6.61 million people on waiting lists – and workforce is a key limiting factor in bringing them down and delivering care sustainably in the long-term.
New figures published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) reveal more than half (52%) of advertised consultant physician posts in England and Wales went unfilled in 2021. This is the highest rate of unfilled posts since records began in 2008. Of the 52% that went unfilled in 2021, the majority (74%) were unfilled due to a lack of any applicants at all.
We are calling on the secretary of state to make workforce a priority, and commit to deliver the 15-year long-term workforce strategy by the end of the year as planned.
The over 200 the member organisations of the Inequalities in Health Alliance, convened by the RCP, also hope the new secretary of state will heed calls for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.