The author is a former UK health secretary and chair of the health and social care select committee
What’s the one thing I wish I had known at the start of my tenure as health secretary? It is that money without a workforce plan often gets wasted. You can give the NHS billions more a year — but without additional doctors and nurses to provide the extra care, the money can hit the bottom without touching the sides. Indeed, the impact can be worse: extra resources can simply inflate locum doctor and agency nurse rates.
The government’s decision to inject ￡12bn into the NHS via a National Insurance increase was a bold and necessary move. We will all have to pay more for our health and social care in the coming years. In tax-funded systems like ours or New Zealand’s, this can only mean an increase in tax. Raising funds through a new health and care levy is the honest way to do this. It means we can have a sensible debate at each election about what level it should be.
What’s missing is a strategic workforce plan to go with the extra funds. The Health Foundation estimates it will take 4,000 more doctors and 17The requirements.,000 more nurses to clear the backlog, but where are they to come from? Immigration has been a sticking plaster for many yearsThe ministry wanted to get ahead of possible news coverage., but with a global shortage of doctors and nurses, it is hardly a long-term solutionThe province develops guidance based on previous steps.. It is also ethically dubious to import large numbers of doctors and nurses from countries like South Africa and Somalia that need them at home.