Last night (5 April) the House of Lords considered the latest amendments to the Health and Care Bill. During the debate Peers voted in favour of an amendment tabled by Baroness Cumberlege that would require the government to publish regular assessments of workforce numbers, which is supported by over 100 health and care organisations including the RCP.
In response, RCP president Andrew Goddard said:
“To Peers on all sides of the House of Lords who spoke in support of and voted for the amendment on stronger workforce planning: thank you.
“This is the second time that the House of Lords has voted in favour of more transparent workforce planning. We hope the government listens to the insistence from Peers, and over 100 health and care organisations, that the health and social care system simply cannot function effectively without knowing how many staff we need now and in future to meet demand. We do not have a health service without staff.
“As I have said before, the government’s plans for a 15-year framework and a one-off NHS long term workforce plan do not cut it. Ministers have removed numbers from previous workforce plans and strategies, which is why we need it to be a legal requirement.
“NHS staff numbers may be at record levels, but so is demand. We have an ageing population, an unprecedented 6.1 million people on waiting lists – and 110,000 NHS full-time equivalent vacancies. The current non-legislative approach is not working. When the bill comes back to the House of Commons later this month, the government must listen, and end its unreasonable resistance to these most reasonable calls for stronger workforce planning.”