Britain’s NHS staff are the very best in the world, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
They do so much to make Britain’s health service one to be proud of and deserve our respect, admiration and support.
Yet years of pay restraint, cuts to training budgets, and the Government’s failure to invest in and plan appropriately for the workforce has resulted in more than 100,000 vacancies across the NHS.
Yet rather than investing in healthcare students, the Government is now asking students to pay to train to work in the NHS.
It is concerning that the Royal College of Nursing recently confirmed that nursing degree applications have fallen by 30 per cent since the bursary was removed.
Independent health think tanks are now warning that there will be a 250,000 shortfall of NHS staff by 2030.
I am concerned that staff shortages are putting patient care at risk.
Without immediate and determined action, backed by investment from the Government, I believe the NHS workforce crisis will only get worse.
If ministers are serious about tackling the workforce crisis and increasing the nursing workforce, I believe they should reinstate NHS bursaries and invest in nursing higher education.
Last year, MPs debated an Opposition motion calling on the Government to reverse its decision to scrap the nurse bursary to ensure the education system is fair and sustainable.
But Government MPs voted against it and it was defeated.
I will continue to press ministers to reinstate NHS bursaries and ensure there is a credible strategy to support and recruit the workforce for the future.