A recent report revealed the daunting truth about NHS shortages and the downward spiral that the NHS faces if action isn’t taken urgently.
More people are quitting
Think tanks Nuffield Trust, Health Foundation and King’s Fund found that currently there is a shortage of nurses of around 30,000, likely to more than double within the next five years. The current shortage of GPs is around 4,000, which is likely to increase to 11,000 if action isn’t taken.
The shortages aren’t just affecting nurses and doctors; a lack of support staff, such as hospital porters is also the reason for some hospital delays, which in the past have had fatal consequences.
Shortfalls have followed a growing number of over-worked doctors leaving the profession, and also the removal of bursaries and tuition fees. Applications to study nursing in England have fallen for a second year, dropping by a third since the Government removed bursaries in 2017.
The think tanks recommend offering a £5,200 grant for living expenses to nurses in training, which they hope would triple the number of post-graduates.
They also suggest using the skills of other staff, such as pharmacists and physiotherapists, much more widely and routinely in and alongside general practice. This would include them treating back pain and joint problems, as well as giving advice regarding minor conditions and carrying out medication reviews.
Another proposal is for three times more nurses to be recruited from abroad every year, but the post-Brexit migration system has introduced uncertainty into the use of this established source of qualified staff.
Sally Green at the Medical Accident Group fears for the safety of patients, saying; “We recently reported on the consequences of staff shortages and it appears that that the downward trend isn’t going to improve in the short term. Worryingly, the ever-growing pressures put on over-worked staff will inevitably result in more mistakes.”
We at Medical Accident Group are on hand to help those who have suffered because of hospital shortages and delays. If you or your family need our expert advice, please contact us on 0800 050 1668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.