The new NHS Workforce Plan, published today by NHS England and backed by Government, commits to recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff over the next 15 years.
Responding to the publication of the Plan, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Adrian James said:
“The publication of the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan has been much anticipated and is very welcome. While we will take time to digest the Plan in detail, the commitment to grow the NHS workforce by more than 300,000 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals is great news.
“Having called for medical school places to be doubled to 15,000, we are delighted the Government has listened. The proposal to expand the medical workforce through apprenticeships is novel. We are keen to learn how these apprenticeships will work in practise.
“A long-term plan for staffing the NHS is crucial to improving patient care and reducing the access gap. To deliver on the ambitions of the current NHS Long Term Plan and beyond, it is vital that a substantial proportion of these new positions are ringfenced for mental health services, including by increasing the number of consultant psychiatrists. We strongly support plans to grow the community mental health workforce which would enable psychiatrists and others to deliver more preventative care.
“With an estimated 1.2 million adults waiting for community-based mental health care in England today and one in seven medical posts in mental health trusts currently vacant, retaining our existing workforce is paramount in the short-term. The Plan acknowledges the importance of retention and we look forward to understanding the impact of the proposed measures on our workforce.
“The £2.4bn investment in our workforce provides an important framework for future-proofing mental health services. This is the first plan of its kind in the history of the NHS. We will work with NHS England and Government on the implementation of this significant expansion of the workforce so we can continue to deliver on the NHS Long Term Plan, as well as the clinical review of standards and Mental Health Act reform.”