Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes compromise workforce amendment to Health and Care Bill

Online news
07 April 2022

The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes this week’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill requiring the Government to publish regular independently verified health workforce numbers and projections.  

The compromise amendment, inserted into the Health and Care Bill by Peers in the House of Lords, would require the Government to lay a health and social care workforce report before Parliament ‘at least once every three years’. The House of Commons last week rejected an amendment requiring the Government to publish workforce numbers and projections every two years.  

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“People with serious mental illness are waiting too long for treatment because of a chronic shortage of psychiatrists and other professionals. 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 needed most.

"We welcome this amendment, which 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." 

The amendment to the Health and Care Bill states the report must set out ‘the system in place for assessing and meeting the workforce needs of the health, social care and public health services in England’ including:  

a) an independent assessment of health and social care workforce numbers, current at the time of publication, and the projected workforce supply for the following five, ten and 15 years, and 

b) an independent assessment of future health and social care workforce numbers based on the projected health and care needs of the population for the following five, ten and 15 years, taking account of the Office for Budget Responsibility long-term fiscal projections. 

The amendment requires NHS England and Health Education England to assist in the preparation of the report. It also requires the Government to consult ‘health and care employers, providers, trade unions, Royal Colleges, universities and any other persons deemed necessary for the preparation of this report’.  

The amendment which has received cross-party support, will next be considered by MPs later in April when the Health and Care Bill returns to the House of Commons following the Easter recess.   

 

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