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“It’s great that MPs want to give the problems affecting the care sector some serious attention,” Gavin Edwards, from public service union Unison told The Big Issue, “but there would be no need for an inquiry into staffing shortages if the government had a proper plan for care.
“Ministers should be ensuring all employers pay their workers at least the real living wage and begin to treat them better too. That would help stop so many people leaving for higher-paid work and encourage job hunters to think of care as a serious career option.
The inquiry is asking:
“What is the correct balance between domestic and international recruitment of health and social care workers in the short, medium and long term?”
“What are the main steps that must be taken to recruit the extra staff that are needed across the health and social care sectors in the short, medium and long-term?”
By 2030/31, almost half a million extra health care staff will be needed to meet the pressures of demand and recover from the pandemic, research by The Health Foundation has found. That’s a 40 per cent increase in the NHS’s current workforce.
Only yesterday MPs voted against the amendment tabled by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt – now chair of the Health and Social Care Committee – which called for the Health and Care Bill to address the staffing shortages crippling the NHS.
More than 60 of the UK’s most respected health and social care organisations including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing supported the amendment.
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“A broad coalition of professional, political and public support has been overlooked by a government still unwilling to solve the staffing crisis in the NHS and care system,” said Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal College of Nursing in England.
“When vacancy levels are so high, the move is short-sighted at best and wilfully reckless at worst,” she continued.
The Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care inquiry is currently accepting evidence and will close on January 19 2022.