15-year workforce plan for UK’s health service unveiled

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday announced a 15-year plan for the National Health Service (NHS) workforce, calling it “the biggest ever expansion” in the country’s health care history. Sunak told reporters during a visit to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge that the Long-Term Workforce Plan is the NHS’s “most ambitious transformation” in its history, and that it will result in the largest-ever increase in the number of doctors and nurses. He noted that the plan will not only ease ongoing pressures on the country’s health services but will also protect the NHS in the long term for better care in a changing world. He added that the government will fully fund the expansion of education and training for the first five years with over 2.4 billion pounds (approximately US$3.04 billion) in additional investment. “The plan rests on three principles: train, retain and reform,” Sunak explained, adding that his government aims to train over 24,000 more nurses and midwives each year, allowing them to reduce the spending on temporary agency staff by 10 billion pounds (approximately US$12.6 billion). “So we’ll retain more of our dedicated workforce… keeping up to 130,000 more staff in the NHS over the next 15 years,” he added. The government’s first NHS Long Term Workforce Plan came ahead of the health service’s 75th anniversary next week. The UK has faced several of strikes and protests by the NHS staff over pay disputes and working conditions. Lack of workforce resulting in long waiting lists at hospitals’ Accidents and Emergency (A and E) services are among the complaints made by the public and the staff. In his speech on Jan. 4, Sunak said cutting waiting lists is one of the top five priorities of his government.

Source: Philippines News Agency