The Health and Care Bill must be amended to help make workforce shortages a thing of the past A joint letter to The Times

14 July 2021


Workforce shortages are the biggest challenge facing the NHS and social care. Professionals working in health and care, from nurses and doctors to pharmacists and carers, train for years and without proper long-term planning, shortages are inevitable. A fully resourced workforce is key to delivering the care patients and service users need and expect.

The government's Health and Care Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to learn from past failures. As it passes through Parliament, we urge government to amend the Bill to ensure that in future England has robust, independent projections of the health and social care staff the country will need, to help make shortages a thing of the past.

The lack of these provisions in the Bill is a glaring omission. If the health and care system is to make real progress in overcoming the obstacles it faces in recovering services after COVID-19 it needs to be fully and properly staffed.


  • Anita Charlesworth, Director, The Health Foundation
  • Richard Murray, Chief Executive, The King’s Fund
  • Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation
  • Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Chris Hopson, Chief Executive, NHS Providers
  • Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive, Nuffield Trust
  • Dr Andrew Goddard, President, Royal College of Physicians
  • Dr Charlotte Augst, Chief Executive, National Voices
  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE, BMA council chair
  • Jude Diggins, Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs (interim), Royal College of Nursing

Further reading


The NHS Bill must put in place a system to support better workforce planning

14 April 2021

Joint letter to the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP from the Health Foundation,...


Building the NHS nursing workforce in England

December 2020

The current shortfall of nurses represents a major long-term and growing problem for the NHS. This...

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