SoR one of 40 bodies demanding publication of the delayed NHS Workforce Plan

Government accused of "cowardly" failure to support NHS staff

Published: 02 June 2023 Trade Union & IR

The SoR is one of 40 organisations that have written to the Prime Minister on 31 May demanding that the government immediately publish its NHS Workforce Plan.

Politicians from all main parties have been setting out their aspirations and priorities for the NHS across the UK. However, without a coherent, costed plan that secures adequate levels of recruitment and training for the long term, then none of their aspirations are achievable.

Read the letter to the PM

In no area is this clearer than in radiography. The SoR estimates vacancies running at a minimum of 10% and in some modalities and regions there are close to 1 in 5 missing from the workforce.

For example, in sonography the staff shortages are so desperate that 120% productivity targets are being set and departments are increasingly reliant on agency staff to manage their workload.

SoR chief executive Richard Evans said: “We are among many organisations which have made detailed and positive contributions to the formulation of the NHS Workforce Plan over several years.

Unsustainable pressure

"For more than a decade the number of training places for AHPs has fallen short of forecast demand. This has resulted in unsustainable pressure in the system. We now have members burning out and leaving the profession because they feel they’ll be safer and better rewarded doing something else outside the NHS.

"The workforce plan needs to be published and it needs to come with guaranteed funding. Without this plan, services will have little chance to turn the tide and start to address recruitment and retention.

"The government withholding publication of the plan is cowardly at best and could be seen as a further abuse of hard-pressed NHS services.”

He added, “It is alarming to all of us who have the NHS and the health of our nations close to our hearts to see the plan delayed. There is no reasonable explanation for the delay.”

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