Despite a strong campaign by the College and over 100 other organisations, the House of Commons has rejected 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
- 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.
MPs in the House of Commons are currently considering amendments made to the Health and Care Bill by Peers in the House of Lords. The Bill will only become an Act after Royal Assent.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“We’re disappointed that the House of Commons has rejected this crucial amendment. The nation’s mental health relies on long-term planning, yet successive governments have failed to take decisive action to tackle staff shortages.
“If the NHS is to avoid lurching from one crisis to another, health leaders must be able to predict where doctors, nurses and care staff are most urgently needed.
“The Health and Care Bill offers an invaluable opportunity to make progress on long-standing workforce challenges. This amendment would enable the Government to make informed, long-term decisions about one of the biggest items of public expenditure – to provide the health and care we all need during our lives."