There is an enormous and decade long shortage of doctors. A temporary fix, as in the 1950s will be needed, but how is it that we have let history repeat itself? The media should be asking what is wrong with the process whereby we reject 9/11 applicants for medicine (rationing), and then are recruiting 40% from overseas. NHSreality feels the answer lies in short term politics, whereby the next mang=date is all that matters. There is no gain in spending more when the results will not benefit you….. Proportional representation would help, as would depoliticising the Health Services, but a revolution is needed whereby local graduates can enter for medicine, but learn locally. They can use on line learning tools, and exams, but their practical assessments need to be centralised as now.
The Times leader 2nd June opines:
The health service desperately needs more doctors and nurses. According to NHS Improvement’s quarterly performance report, published two days ago, by the end of last year there were more than 35,000 nursing vacancies, more than 9,000 vacancies for other medical staff, and nearly 47,000 vacancies elsewhere in the service. The NHS is trying to fill some of these posts with qualified applicants from abroad, but its efforts are being frustrated by the government’s insistence on keeping migration numbers down. The prime minister should rethink.
This week it emerged that dozens of Conservative MPs had put their name to a letter, written by Heidi Allen, urging Theresa May to relax immigration rules in order to address these shortages. Between December and March, the letter said, 1,518 doctors were refused a tier-two visa to work for the NHS. The government has capped these visas at 20,700 a year and so grants requests sparingly.
The NHS has a serious staffing problem and it is not getting any easier to fill vacancies. After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the number of EU nurses joining the British register plummeted, and the number of EU nationals leaving the health service rose. This, combined with nearly a decade of wage pressure and inadequate workforce planning, has intensified pressures. Such shortages have an impact on quality of care. In January a poll of GPs revealed that 71 per cent of those working in hospitals had seen shifts left uncovered.
The same month The Times reported on a memo written by the head of chemotherapy at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford warning that a shortage of trained staff would force the hospital to cut the number of chemotherapy cycles offered to the terminally ill. Limiting access to foreign labour affects certain specialisms, and certain parts of the country, in particular. According to a report by the General Medical Council, more than half the workforce in obstetrics and gynaecology are non-UK graduates. In the east of England the figure is 43 per cent.
Amber Rudd, before she resigned as home secretary, sensibly argued that doctors should be excluded from the tier two rules. She was said to be rebuffed by Downing Street. All too predictably. Mrs May has spent the last eight years of her career, first as home secretary and then as prime minister, wedded to a fundamentally misguided policy of bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands.
Even in her own party, few people think this is a good idea. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives and a possible future leader of the national party, said this week that she sees “neither the sense nor the need” to stick to the original target. The prime minister can hardly doubt Ms Davidson’s judgment as a Conservative political strategist: Scotland was the only part of the country in which the Tories picked up seats in last year’s general election.
The Conservatives ought to have an immigration strategy that reflects the needs of the labour market, public services and the economy as a whole. This means abandoning the promise to get net migration below 100,000. Whatever the government’s overall immigration policy, it should stop turning qualified medical professionals away. The health service needs them.
Leadership and management!
Should not boredom be addressed regarding the NHS saga? Otherwise constant repetition about the country’s health system will surely dull the public’s psyche, eventually.
The question is: Should not Leadership be crucial to establishing, progressively, for a large and well-deserved organisation such as the NHS? Leadership is not about style, but about substance. So, vision, action and spirit are the starting point for the country’s long-term wellbeing.
It seems that leadership is absent for the success of the NHS, regrettably, besides the style of Management within that world renowned organisation laisse beaucoup à désirer.
Can The Times investigate in-depth, and report to the country?