NHS and Social Services: Staff

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th January 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) recruit and retain NHS and social care workers, (b) tackle the staffing shortage in the NHS and social care services.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Workforce statistics for October 2021 show that there are over 1.2 million full time equivalent staff working in the National Health Service or over 1.3 million, headcount. We are on schedule to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament and ensure a sustainable long-term workforce supply in the future. We have funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England - an increase of 25% over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England. The NHS People Plan aims to retain staff by assisting organisations to provide ongoing support to staff to improve their health and wellbeing.

The adult social care reform white paper, ‘People at the Heart of Care’, sets out an investment of at least £500 million in the adult social care workforce. This aims to deliver a rewarding career with opportunities to develop and progress, where social care staff are recognised and their wellbeing prioritised. On 10 December we announced £300 million for local authorities and care providers to recruit and retain care staff through the winter. This funding will enhance the existing £162.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund. On 24 December, we announced that care workers, care assistants and home care workers will be eligible for the Health and Care Visa for a 12-month period. These roles will also be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

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