The RCP has responded to MPs voting to remove Lords’ amendment 29 which would have required published independent assessments of current and future workforce numbers based on projected patient demand.
RCP president, Andrew Goddard, said: “It is more than disappointing that MPs have voted for a second time to reject an amendment to the Health and Care Bill on workforce planning. Lords Amendment 29 would have required the secretary of state to publish independent projections of how many health and social care staff we need now and in future.
“Over 100 health and care organisations supported this amendment and had written to the prime minister urging him to accept it. But the government says it disagrees that the NHS deserves to know how many staff it needs. This is poor planning. All successful organisations rely on long-term workforce planning to ensure that they can meet demand – as we have said many times, the NHS and the social care system should be no exception.
“It’s particularly disappointing that this decision comes in the same week as the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund report that public satisfaction with the NHS is at an all-time low and the NHS Staff Survey highlights how demoralised heath care professionals are. In both cases, staff shortages are given as the reason, with the public also very concerned about inadequate government funding.
“The government’s plans for a 15-year framework and a one-off NHS long term workforce plan do not cut it. Ministers have removed numbers from previous workforce plans and strategies, which is why we need it to be a legal requirement.
“Last night’s vote in the House of Commons has removed a foundation from which we could have begun to put the NHS and social care workforce back on a sustainable footing. As the bill progresses I hope MPs look to 2040 as we do, when a quarter of the population will be over 65 and needing significant amounts of care, and realise we can’t carry on like this.”