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Inaction on workforce planning will ‘social cares ability to recover’

Inaction on workforce planning will ‘hamper the NHS and social care’s ability to recover’, says Health Foundation.

In response to the vote on the Health and Care Bill amendment on workforce planning, the Health Foundation has criticised the decision.

The Health and Care Bill amendment, which focused on strengthening workforce planning, was backed by the NHS Confederation, Royal College of Physicians, British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, NHS Providers and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The amendment to Clause 33 of the Health and Care Bill proposed that every two years the Secretary of State must publish independently verified assessments of current and future workforce numbers, which would be consistent with the OBR long-term fiscal projections.

As it stands currently, Clause 33 means the system, according to those proposing the amendment, does not know if it is training or retaining enough staff, with this amendment allowing for clarity on the process of staff numbers. However, the amendment was rejected on Tuesday.

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Responding to the rejection, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL Centre at the Health Foundation said it is ‘deeply disappointing’, going on to comment: ‘For decades, planning for the health and care workforce of the future has been the Achilles’ heel of UK health care policy. The UK desperately needs to invest in training, pay, terms and conditions to secure the workforce needed to meet growing demand for care. That’s why, along with over 60 organisations, we supported this amendment so that in future England has robust, independent projections of the health and social care staff the country will need.

‘Structural change is not the answer to the staffing crisis. While there is sense in merging HEE and NHSE to better coordinate workforce planning this will not address the growing gap between the demand facing health and care services and the staff available to provide care.

‘Further inaction will significantly hamper the NHS and social care’s ability to recover after the pandemic and address the backlog of care. A fully funded long-term workforce strategy is long overdue.’

This comes alongside recent news that the Social Care Gap, another reform to social care policy, was backed by MP’s, despite opposition claiming it would force poorer people to lose out from the change.

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