Staff shortages of around 100,000 will stop the NHS from delivering its long-term plan, MPs have warned.
Officials have been accused of painting ‘an overly positive picture’ of the financial sustainability of the health service while playing down the challenges ahead.
The situation will ‘rapidly reach crisis point’ if the NHS continues to lose staff and fails to attract sufficient workers from overseas, according to a Public Accounts Committee report.
There are currently around 100,000 vacancies across the NHS representing ‘a major obstacle to [its] financial viability’. The report warned that expecting retention rates to improve or for more staff to join from abroad was a ‘risky strategy’, with the UK’s exit from the EU potentially complicating matters further.
‘The long-term funding settlement for the NHS and the NHS long-term plan present an opportunity to bring back stability to the health system,’ the report said. ‘However, with about 100,000 current vacancies, the NHS will not deliver against the plan unless it addresses staffing shortages.’
The NHS long-term plan was published in January after the Government committed to an extra £20.5billion in funding per year by 2023-24.