The UK’s NHS health service is experiencing the worst staff crisis in its history, a parliamentary committee reports.
In a report to the National Health Service, persistent understaffing poses a severe risk to staff and patient safety in both mainstream care and emergency departments.
In England alone, the NHS is short of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives, MPs write. Nearly 6.5 million patients were on the waiting list for hospital treatment in April, a record. The goal of offering treatment within eighteen weeks has not been achieved since 2016.
An overwhelming majority of medical professionals believe that the current workforce cannot overcome the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In the coming decades, an additional 475,000 people in the health sector and 490,000 in care will be needed.
Some progress has been made in hiring additional nurses. Still, former Health Minister Sajid Javid has admitted that the target of hiring 6,000 additional GPs is not being met despite promises to do so in the Conservative Party manifesto. However, in a recent statement, the UK Department of Health pointed to new staff hired over the past year, also ensuring more staff.