Government plans to tackle a post-pandemic backlog in the UK health service fail to address it personnel crisis, A joint report warns that increased pressure from Omicron infections and urgent care could exacerbate the problem.
Minister last year break the manifesto commitment and increase the national insurance rate to generate an extra £30 billion in health service over three years to reduce waiting lists and tackle Britain’s social care crisis.
But Jeremy Hunt, chair of the health and social care selection committee, the group of parliamentarians behind the report, warned that efforts to tackle the backlog of 5.8 million patients waiting for treatment at Conventional hospitals in the UK “run the risk of having a completely predictable staff. crisis.” Official estimates suggest that the waiting list could double by 2025.
“The current wave of Omicrons is exacerbating the problem, but we have had a serious staffing crisis, with exhausted workforce, 93,000 NHS vacancies and there is no sign of any plans to tackle this,” Hunt said.
“In addition to clearing the backlog, the NHS will be able to do less of the day-to-day firefighting unless the government comes to terms with the scale of the staffing crisis facing the NHS and urgently develops a long-term plan to fix the problem,” he added.
The report comes as an increase in the Omicron coronavirus variant has caused a wave of absenteeism among clinicians, squeeze the NHS workforce further and forced hospital trusts across England to report a serious incident.
The committee said it was “completely unacceptable” that funding for Health Education England, the body responsible for training the health workforce, remained “unresolved”, adding that it was “unreasonable”. disappointed” when no plans were announced to increase the number of doctors and nurses participating in the training. MPs added more work needed to be done to address staffing shortages between GPs and social care.
Under plans outlined by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, HEE will merge with NHS England by 2023. However, MPs warn the move could hinder the implementation of a long-term workforce strategy government limit to the NHS.
They also criticized the government for resisting amendments to the November Health and Care Bill, which would require independent projections of future workforce needs, adding that the Such an assessment is necessary to “gain the trust of frontline workers”.
“The pandemic has increased the stress on healthcare workers and many people have had enough,” said Sara Gorton, head of health at the public service association Unison. “Poor government planning has made the situation much worse.”
“The staff has withered under the pressure of the pandemic,” Gorton said. “Now they are experiencing another wave as Omicron surges.”
Pat Cullen, chief executive of the Royal College of Nurses, said the report delivered a “cursed verdict on the government’s commitment to safe patient care”.
He added that it not only highlights the “current shortage of personnel” but also “many others are also at risk of leaving as they lose confidence in the government’s willingness to deal with the situation.” “.
The report calls for the government to roll out a broader NHS recovery plan by April this year, focusing not only on elective care but also services including urgent care, mental health and care. social care, places that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. It warns against relying solely on digital targets, warning that they can “deprive key services” and bypass “potential backlogs”.
MPs also said they saw “huge potential” in the better-resourced 111 service to help ease the need for accident and emergency departments, which face waiting times record high in October.
The department for health and social care says the NHS has added more than 5,000 doctors and nearly 10,000 nurses in the past year.
A spokesperson said: “The pandemic has put enormous pressure on the NHS but we are committed to supporting the hard working staff to ensure people get the treatment they need.