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Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt criticises failures that ‘make a mockery’ of NHS workforce planning

30 November 2020

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt, has repeated his call for further information to ensure the NHS has a workforce with sufficient capacity, to meet requirements set out in its 10 year plan.

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, last month was asked to provide 10 year workforce projections for the NHS and warned that delays to such plans were likely to ‘make a mockery’ of the original intention for them to work in tandem with the NHS 10 year plan, published in 2019. Further delays could mean no new doctors being trained to take up their posts within the lifetime of the plan.

The Committee is carrying out an inquiry into Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care, examining how the NHS is addressing the long term shortages of frontline staff - described as one of the root causes of chronic excessive workload.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Executive of NHS England & Improvement Sir Simon Stevens, are also criticised for ‘disappointing’ and ‘inadequate’ responses, to urgent recommendations on patient care and staffing made in the Committee’s report following its inquiry, Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee said:

“In the pandemic there have been widespread reports of staff burnout so it is very disappointing that I am having to ask once again for urgent figures from the NHS that will detail the modelling for the numbers of professional staff that will be required for a 10 year long term plan that we are now two years into delivering. Given it takes seven years to train a doctor we will soon be beyond the point when any changes in training places will have any impact during the lifetime of the plan.

“Separately, the Committee’s urgent recommendations requiring the Health Secretary and NHS leaders to set out plans to tackle patient waiting times and the backlog as a result of the pandemic have not been adequately addressed. I believe much work has happened in this area so it is disappointing more of it has not been shared, alongside a comprehensive definition of the racism the NHS is determined to stamp out.

“We are therefore seeking urgent answers to these pressing matters.”

Further information

Image: © Peter Facey (cc-by-sa/2.0)