Comprehensive plan to address workforce shortages urgently needed Health Foundation response to the Public Accounts Committee report on the NHS nursing workforce

23 September 2020

Responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report on the NHS nursing workforce, Anita Charlesworth, the Health Foundation’s Director of Research and REAL Centre, said:  

 ‘This report adds to the growing evidence that we urgently need a comprehensive plan to tackle the workforce crisis across the NHS and social care. The pressures on the nursing workforce in the NHS are well known, with one in 10 registered NHS nursing posts currently vacant. The interim people plan for the NHS offered some respite to get the service through the winter, but there is no equivalent plan for social care where workforce issues are even greater. 

‘Prior to the pandemic the NHS was increasingly reliant on international recruitment to address nursing vacancies. But COVID-19 has cut this lifeline and risks exacerbating existing nursing shortages further.  

‘There have been some recent signs of progress. The number of nurses working in the NHS has increased, and vacancies for nurses in social care have fallen in the last year - but there is still a huge mountain to climb.  

‘Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on an already stretched workforce. And while there has been hugely positive sentiment felt across the country in support of the health and care workforce this now needs to translate into meaningful action and a long-term plan to address the workforce shortages across the NHS and social care.’ 

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
Creina.Lilburne@health.org.uk
07941 156 827

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