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NHS staff survey underlines need for national workforce strategy

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o871 (Published 01 April 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o871
  1. Adele Waters
  1. The BMJ

MPs have rejected a “once in a decade opportunity” to tackle longstanding failures in NHS workforce planning after voting against a proposed amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill1 that would require the health and social care secretary to publish an independently verified workforce assessment and plan at least every two years.

Amendment 29, which passed in the House of Lords last month, was backed by more than 100 healthcare organisations, including the BMA, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and the Royal College of Physicians.2

Rejection of the proposal in the House of Commons came on 30 March, the same day as the publication of the latest NHS staff survey.3 Ironically, the survey’s findings had prompted universal calls for an NHS workforce strategy, from healthcare unions, health think tanks, and NHS organisations alike.

The 2021 survey ran in October and November last year and was completed by 628 475 staff at NHS trusts, a 48% response rate. It showed that almost three quarters of respondents worked in NHS organisations with too few colleagues to allow …

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