The RCP has submitted written evidence to the health and social care select committee’s inquiry on Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care.
The committee’s inquiry aims to understand the reasons why staff leave the health and social care sectors and how to tackle those causes. It will also explore recruitment and training.
The RCP’s response sets out that government must urgently expand the medical workforce, including through doubling medical school places, and ensure there is a collective national understanding of how many health and care staff the country needs now and in future through the publication of regular, independent projections of workforce numbers.
The submission makes the following recommendations:
- The health and care worker visa should be open to all social care staff and indefinite leave to remain should be given to all NHS and social care staff who have worked during the pandemic, and their spouses and dependants. Without significant investment in training more people in the UK, overseas recruitment will have to remain a central part of the solution to the UK’s staffing issues.
- Government must take steps to expand the medical workforce, including through expanding medical school places to 15,000 and increasing the number of training places. The NHS must be open and welcoming to international colleagues, but we should not become overly reliant on recruiting already qualified doctors from other countries as the solution to the UK’s workforce issues.
- The Health and Care Bill should be amended to include provisions for independently verified assessments of future health and care workforce requirements to be published.
- Government should consider fast-tracking the regulation of Physician Associates (PAs) so they can prescribe and order ionising radiation.
- The Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) needs to be reformed so it is simpler and faster for eligible SAS doctors to become consultants.
- Many consultants are retiring early because of ongoing issues with pensions. The temporary measures put in place for the 2020/21 tax year to enable additional work for the pandemic were an acceptable solution. We recommend that this temporary measure is extended over the next 2 to 3 years until more formal changes to legislation are achieved.
- The NHS must embrace flexibility in training and in work. To retain existing staff, we need to get the basics right, including ensuring time off for significant life events and access to hot food and drinks.