Following successful campaigning by the College and others, the House of Lords has voted in favour of an amendment requiring the Government to publish regular independently verified assessments of current and future workforce numbers.
The amendment to the Health and Care Bill requires the Secretary of State to report every two years:
- an independently verified assessment of health, social care and public health workforce numbers, current at the time of publication, and the projected workforce supply for the following five, ten and 20 years; and
- an independently verified assessment of future health, social care and public health workforce numbers based on the projected health and care needs of the population for the following five, ten and 20 years, taking account of the Office for Budget Responsibility long-term fiscal projections.
The Health and Care Bill is currently being considered by Peers in the House of Lords, after the conclusion of Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Lords, it returns to the House of Commons for consideration of amendments made by the Lords after the Third Reading. The Bill will only become an Act after Royal Assent.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“I commend the House of Lords for supporting this amendment and implore MPs to retain this clause when they next consider the Bill so that it becomes law.
“The nation’s mental health relies on long-term workforce planning. One in 10 consultant psychiatrist posts in England is vacant because successive governments have failed to plan properly. People are waiting much longer than they should for mental health treatment because of chronic staff shortages in every speciality in every part of the country.
“This Lords amendment, if it becomes law, will drive important progress on long-standing workforce challenges and help ensure the long-term future of the NHS.”