Responding to the Health Foundation's REAL Centre publishing analysis on NHS workforce demand and supply projections, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“This analysis confirms NHS leaders’ fears of the growing gap between the numbers of additional staff that the health service needs and the numbers of staff that the Government says are needed.
“Staff across the NHS are already severely overstretched as they try to cope with 105,000 vacancies across the service, but it is very concerning that this figure may grow to around 180,000 in the next two years.
“Particularly concerning are the shortages of staff within certain healthcare specialties and areas. Despite the Government’s pledge to increase the NHS nursing workforce by 50,000 by the end of this parliament, growing demand and issues with retention mean the health service will likely be short of 38,000 full-time nurses in the next 18 months. Primary care is also projected to suffer from staffing shortfalls, with the Health Foundation predicting a shortage of 7,300 qualified and permanent GPs.
“The NHS needs a realism reset from the Conservative leadership candidates. The new Prime Minister must face up to chronic staff shortages which are compromising patient care and jeopardising the ability of the NHS to make significant and sustained inroads into the elective care backlog. NHS leaders want to see immediate and concrete commitments to expanding the NHS workforce to ensure there are enough staff to respond to the pressures of an ageing population and future Covid surges.”