Research by three leading medical thinktanks show that the NHS staffing crisis could hit 350,000 by 2030
As reported by The Guardian, new research by the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation predict that, at the rate the NHS staffing crisis is deepening, the UK could be short of 350,000 personnel by 2030.
The three thinktanks claim: ‘Unless new NHS staff can quickly be recruited and trained, the NHS simply will not have the workers available to meet the demand for healthcare expected over the next decade.’
The NHS in England is already short over 100,000 staff members, according to official figures. Analysts believe that the gap between staff needed and staff available could widen as far as 250,000 by 2020.
The three organisations continue: ‘If the emerging trend of staff leaving the workforce early continues and the pipeline of newly trained staff and international recruits does not rise sufficiently, this number could be more than 350,000 by 2030.’
A lack of 250,000 staff would mean that around one in six NHS posts are unfilled.
This warning hot on the heels of Matt Hancock saying the NHS is worryingly short of nurses, GPs and mental health staff. Although record numbers of young doctors are training to become GPs, “there are also some people leaving the profession in too large numbers, and moving from full-time to part-time”, he said.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, responded to the research.
She said: “Given the intense pressures currently facing our NHS, it frankly comes as little surprise to hear that an impending workforce shortfall will put the forthcoming NHS long-term plan at risk, if it is not comprehensively and effectively addressed from the outset.
“Workforce shortages are, as this report shows, being felt right across the NHS – and general practice is no different. Workload in our profession has escalated over the last few years in both volume and complexity, but our workforce is actually falling. We are currently short of at least 6,000 GPs in England, and if this isn’t addressed, it is our patients who will ultimately bear the brunt by not being able to see their GP when they need to.
“GPs and our teams make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts and in doing so we alleviate pressures from other areas of the NHS, where care is more expensive. The long-term plan – underpinned by a coherent, properly-funded workforce strategy – must recognise and address the adverse impact workforce pressures are having on our profession and the care we are able to deliver to our patients in the community.
“GP trainee numbers are at an all-time high, but it takes 10 years to train a family doctor from entering medical school and efforts to bolster our workforce for today’s patients are falling short of expected targets, leading to ever-increasing waiting times, burnt out GPs, and quality of care being put under threat.
“As well recruiting more doctors, we also need schemes to reduce the unnecessary and bureaucratic workload GPs are currently facing, and retain experienced GPs in the profession, not only for the benefit of our patients, but to also help teach and nurture the next generation of general practitioners.
“We need to see NHS England’s GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.4bn a year and 5,000 more GPs, delivered in full, as well as our additional ask of another £2.5bn a year as part of the forthcoming NHS long-term plan, to be delivered as soon as possible, to alleviate pressure elsewhere in the health service and fundamentally, keep our patients safe.”