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Royal College of Physicians responds to Lord's vote to require publication of health and care workforce numbers

The RCP has responded to the news that members of the House of Lords have voted to require the regular publication of health and care workforce projections.

In response, Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “We strongly welcome the decision taken by Peers to vote for the amendment tabled by Baroness Cumberlege on workforce planning. This amendment will give a national, independent view of how many health and social care staff are needed to keep pace with projected demand over the next 5, 10 and 20 years. All successful organisations rely on long-term workforce planning, and the NHS and social care system should be no exception.

“Throughout the passage of the bill we have made the argument that the NHS and social care cannot function effectively without a numbers-based workforce plan. Our past failure to plan long-term has led to half of advertised consultant physician posts going unfilled, and £6.2bn of taxpayer money spent on locum staff to plug staffing gaps short-term. Today’s vote in the House of Lords provides a strong foundation for beginning to put the NHS and social care workforce back on sustainable footing.

“This is, and has always been, about ensuring that people can continue to access and receive the care that they deserve and expect. The government’s ambitions for the NHS and healthcare cannot be achieved without staff. The backlog cannot be reduced without staff. When the bill returns to the Commons, we strongly urge the government to accept this Lords amendment.”