NHS Providers, the membership organisation and trade association for NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services, has published a report which argues that demand for NHS services is outstripping increased staffing levels.
The report, entitled There for us: a better future for the NHS workforce, argues that, despite 6% more staff being employed in the NHS than there were three years ago, the demand for services has, in some areas, risen by three times as much. Saffron Cordery of NHS Providers was quoted in a recent BBC article as saying that her members were ‘now working on the edge of safe services’ and are seeing ‘so much pressure on the front line’. The report noted that, compared to the 6% rise in total staff working in the NHS between 2013-2014 and 2016-2017, the rise in demand for services had increased, for example, in the area of diagnostic tests by 19%; ambulance calls by 15%; emergency admissions by 10%; and visits to A&E by 7%.
According to the BBC article, ministers had ‘insisted there were plans in place to tackle the problem’. The Department of Health commented that the increases in the number of training places announced, for both nurses and doctors, over the past year, represented the ‘biggest ever expansion of training places’ and would ensure the NHS had the staff it needed.
Camilla Wonnacott, an associate in Penningtons Manches’ clinical negligence team, said: “Sadly we come across many situations where unacceptable standards of patient care can be directly attributed to staff resourcing issues. If you or a loved-one has been injured by poor medical treatment, our specialist team may be able to help.”