NHS: Staff

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th July 2022.

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Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Conservative, Chippenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to (a) recruit more NHS staff, (b) ensure that requests of medical staff to work overnight shifts are reasonable and (c) reduce appointment backlogs.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Local National Health Service trusts have responsibility for ensuring appropriate staffing levels and recruiting the number of health professionals required to meet local service need. We have committed to recruiting NHS staff and investing in the workforce. As of April 2022, there were more than 9,600 additional nurses and 4,000 doctors working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups. We are currently on schedule to meet the commitment for a further 50,000 nurses. We have established a programme to improve retention and support return to practice, invest in and diversify the training pipeline and ethically recruit internationally.

Eligible new and continuing nursing students on pre-registration courses at English universities will also receive an additional grant of £5,000 for each year of their course. Further funding of up to £3,000 is available for costs such as childcare or to encourage recruitment in specific specialisms. The NHS has also established a People Recovery Task Force to provide assurance on the safety and wellbeing of staff. However, it is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure that requests for medical staff to work overnight are reasonable.

Through the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, we have allocated more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to address waiting times in elective services. This is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available to systems in 2021/22.

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