Received from: RCM
Congress believes the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted brutally the damage that a decade of austerity and underinvestment in public services has inflicted.
The NHS faces particular challenges. Even before the pandemic hit there were persistently around 100,000 vacancies across the health service in England. With services still under pressure from Covid-19, the backlog of elective procedures and untreated or undiagnosed conditions is an immediate challenge.
Even Jeremy Hunt commented on the government’s Health and Care Bill, “It says little about the desperately needed overhaul of workforce planning given the shortages in nearly every NHS and care specialty right now.”
Investment in support for existing NHS staff is vital. A report on staff burnout from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee found that burnout is widespread and excessive workloads due to understaffing is a key driver.
Maternity services are stretched almost to breaking point. A survey of RCM members found that eight out of 10 (83 per cent) do not believe their NHS trust or health board has enough staff to operate a safe service and seven out of 10 (71 per cent) midwives were considering leaving the profession, with over a third (38 per cent) seriously thinking about it.
Congress calls for fair, restorative pay settlements; and investment in the NHS and its staff as well as our public services to achieve high equitable outcomes for our future.
Royal College of Midwives