The government has "missed an opportunity" to alleviate the workforce crisis in the NHS and social care by rejecting the Health and Social Care Committee’s recommendation to overhaul workforce planning.

Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt said that the the committee had warned that workforce burnout across NHS and care systems had reached an emergency level and was risking the future functioning of services. 

His comments came after the government published its response to the committee report and rejected its call for transparent and independent projections of the number of doctors and nurses we need to meet future demand. 

In its report, the inquiry heard that NHS workforce planning was at best opaque and at worst was responsible for unacceptable pressure on staff. The report concluded that available funding was the driver behind planning, rather than the level of demand and staffing capacity needed to service it. It further cited the absence of any ‘accurate, public projection’ of workforce requirements in specialisms over the next five to ten years.

Future proof workforce planning needed to address NHS backlog

Jeremy Hunt added: “Whilst we are pleased that some of our recommendations to improve workplace culture were well received, this long-awaited response is a missed opportunity to properly address the single biggest driver of workforce burnout, staff shortages.

“It is disappointing the government has again rejected our call for transparent and independent projections of the number of doctors and nurses we need to meet future demand. Unless we have future proof workforce planning, it will not be possible to address the NHS backlog and the cycle of crises putting dangerous pressure on staff will continue.

“We hope the Government will be persuaded by the case for independent workforce planning as the Health and Care Bill progresses through Parliament. Without it we see little hope that the workforce crisis will be alleviated.”