Health worker shortage 'major threat' to NHS sustainability
Lord Crisp seeks answers from the Government over their plans to mitigate risks to the NHS from health worker shortages.
The availability of health workers is a major threat to the sustainability of the NHS. I am sure that the Government recognises that there is a growing shortage of health workers globally - and a global market and global competition for health professionals – and that the UK will be affected by this as countries, particularly those in Asia, expand their health services. This is a major problem regardless of Brexit, but the uncertainties of Brexit make this worse.
I want to know from the Government what assessment they have made of the scale of the risks from these two separate factors and what it is doing to manage the risks.
There is much more that could be done to mitigate the impact not just through training more health workers but through re-designing jobs, using technology, empowering patients and investing in health promotion and disease prevention. Some of this is happening, but I would like to know that the Government has both a full risk-assessment and a management plan for securing the health workers we need for the future.
There is an opportunity here too. The UK is a world leader in health and in the education of health professionals. UK universities and institutions could play an even bigger role not just in training for the UK but also in training health workers at home and abroad. I would like to know what the Government is doing to help Universities and others take this opportunity to meet global demand as part of a wider post-Brexit global strategy that recognises the strength of the UK’s health sector – from academia to services and commerce – and the potential it offers the UK for global influence and economic benefit.
Lord Crisp is also writing for The House magazine this week on EU workers in the NHS, watch this space.
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