Impact of Covid on NHS
For years we have voiced concerns over how overstretched the NHS has become, but no one could ever have imagined just how bad the situation would be in 2022. As doctors, we have seen first-hand the profound impact that the pandemic has had on patients who are now facing the largest ever backlog of care in history, with no sign of improvement on the horizon.
Fundamental to tackling this is the NHS workforce; the staff who have gone above and beyond, very often to their own detriment, to deliver care for patients in increasingly challenging, almost impossible situations. This has not been without a cost.
The BMA predicts that in England alone, the NHS workforce is short of around 46,300 doctors, not to mention shortages of other healthcare staff who are vital to keeping our services afloat. Staff are working at increased risk of burnout and stress with an alarming number of doctors considering leaving the profession.
The workforce planning amendment to the Health and Care Bill, passed by the Lords earlier in March, is crucial to achieving greater accountability for safe staffing in the NHS. The very future of our health service depends on an effective long-term workforce strategy and this simple reporting measure will ensure greater transparency and accountability from the Government, which is important if we are to make any progress. For patients in the West Midlands, this is the very least they deserve.
Dr Stephen Millar, BMA West Midlands regional council chair
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