The NHS says its staffing crisis is at chronic levels, as official figures show it needs to fill 110,192 posts across health services in England.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers (part of the NHS Confederation), said: “Despite everything the NHS is doing to recruit and retain its workforce, there is no escaping the fact that services are facing chronic workforce shortages, which are getting worse. These pressures are felt right across the NHS with the biggest gaps seen in nursing, particularly in acute and mental health posts.”

The figures show a rise of more than 20,000 vacancies in healthcare posts, compared to last year. There are more than 8,000 doctors needed and almost 40,000 nurses.

This amounts to one in ten nursing posts being empty and one in 17 doctors’ posts.

 Nursing authorities warn that this will mean patient care becomes harder to maintain and 

 

They also say these shortages would mean longer delays for patients – especially those under = mental health teams – and the treatment backlog might be worsened.  

Mr Mortimer said: “For the NHS to fully recover from the pandemic, tackle its waiting lists and support its remaining staff, it needs the Government to provide adequate funding for a long-term and sustainable plan for the workforce.

 

He added: “To do that effectively, decision makers must have greater transparency and understanding about future workforce needs, which is why NHS leaders are right behind the proposed amendment that would require the secretary of state for health and social care to publish regular and independent assessments of the numbers of staff the NHS needs, both now and in the years to come.”

 

The figures come as the government is under pressure to publish a workforce plan for the NHS as a long term solution against understaffing. The plan will also provide the public with regular updates on staff shortages in each area of care. Another aspect of the plan will include steps on how to recruit the workers needed within the health service, and how they will be recruited.