Criticism of the long-term workforce plan begins to emerge

The publication of the first-ever NHS long-term workforce plan in June 2023 received a mixed reception. There was relief that a workforce plan had at last been published after so many years of false reports of its imminent appearance. Now commentators are analysing the plan in more detail, however and criticism is emerging.

The plan is badly needed if the NHS is going to be able to cope with the predicted increase in demand for its services over the coming years. The NHS currently has around 112,000 vacancies and the government’s prediction is that if nothing changes then it could have a shortfall of staff of 260,000 to 360,000 by 2036/37, as the number of 85 year olds increases by 55%.

The announcement by PM Rishi Sunak, like so many other important announcements in recent times, was made first by press release that contained limited information, rather than to the House of Commons. The full plan was published the next day.

The initial response from the medical colleges, based on the government press release, was relief that the plan had finally been published and a welcome for the increase in training places.

Full story in The Lowdown, 14 July 2023