William Eichler 06 January 2022

Plans to tackle NHS backlog ‘undermined’ by staffing crisis

Plans to tackle NHS backlog ‘undermined’ by staffing crisis image

Omicron, the emergency care crisis and staff shortages could derail the Government’s plans to tackle the backlog of elective care cases, MPs have warned.

A new report from the Health and Social Care Committee has warned that the effort to clear the record backlog of 5.8 million elective cases caused by the pandemic is under threat by the spread of Omicron.

Plans to reduce waiting lists are also being undermined by a record number of 999 calls and the fact that waiting times in emergency departments are at record levels.

The Report concludes that tackling the wider backlog caused by the pandemic is a major and ‘unquantifiable’ challenge. It calls for a broad national health and care recovery plan to include mental health, primary care, community care, and social care as well as emergency care.

The committee also called for better workforce planning and criticised the Government for resisting changes to the Health and Care Bill that would have required publication of an independent assessment of workforce numbers at least once every two years.

‘The NHS faces an unquantifiable challenge in tackling a backlog of cases caused by the pandemic, with 5.8 million patients waiting for planned care and estimates that the figure could double by 2025,’ said Health and Social Care Committee chair Jeremy Hunt MP.

‘However, our report finds that the Government’s recovery plans risk being thrown off course by an entirely predictable staffing crisis. The current wave of Omicron is exacerbating the problem, but we already had a serious staffing crisis, with a burnt-out workforce, 93,000 NHS vacancies and no sign of any plan to address this.??

‘Far from tackling the backlog, the NHS will be able to deliver little more than day to day firefighting unless the Government wakes up to the scale of the staffing crisis facing the NHS, and urgently develops a long-term plan to fix the issue.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'The pandemic has put enormous pressures on the NHS but we are committed to supporting hardworking staff to ensure people get the treatment they need.

'We have provided an additional £5.9bn to help tackle the backlogs and we are investing £36bn over three years which will help deliver an extra 9 million checks, scans and operations for patients.

'We have over 5,100 doctors and nearly 10,000 more nurses in the NHS compared to last year and we’re committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Apprenticeship

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28470 - £44628 per annum
Building Surveyor or Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeship Career Grade Sc6- PO4 (£28,470 - £44,628)3 or 5 Years (depending on experience) Fixed Term Learn England, London
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Teacher of the Deaf

City of Bradford MDC
Band/Grade MPS / UPS + 1 or 2 SEN
We are seeking to recruit a creative, innovative and experienced Teacher of the Deaf to work in the Support Team for Deaf Children. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Registration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,481 -£37,677
Do you want a fast-paced and varied role? Would you like to help people through some of the most important moments of their lives? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Head of Service – Adults Services South, Safeguarding & DoLS

Bolton Council
£51,772
It is an exciting time to join us as Head of Service for Safeguarding, DoLS and South District. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Apprenticeship

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28,470 - £44,628
Kick-start your career with an apprenticeship based in Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.