The Association responds to the House of Lords voting for Baroness Cumberlege’s workforce amendment
Thursday 3 March 2022
The Association of Anaesthetists has strongly welcomed the House of Lords voting to require the UK Government to independently assess the size and shape of the NHS workforce every two years, as well as putting a statutory obligation on the NHS to consider environmental issues.
Responding to the recent votes on amendments to the Health and Care Bill in the House of Lords, Dr Mike Nathanson, President of the Association of Anaesthetists, said:
“We would like to thank Baroness Cumberlege and peers for listening to the healthcare community that has been repeatedly highlighting the dire need for investment into recruitment and retention of the workforce to fill the ever-growing gaps in staffing. Anaesthetics, even before the pandemic, had an estimated shortage of at least 1,400 consultants.
“When the Bill returns to the Commons we hope the Government will accept the amendment and is able to deliver on its commitment to support the NHS workforce and fulfil the health needs of the public."
“With a considerable backlog of surgical cases, it is more critical than ever that the NHS workforce is secure, and that measures are in place to properly staff the workforce and avoid future shortages, and to ensure there is no negative impact on patient safety.
“By supporting this amendment the House of Lords is giving its backing to the NHS workforce, which will go some way to putting the NHS back on a sustainable footing, and highlighting to the Government these dangerous gaps in provision in anaesthesia. Put simply, the backlog will not be cleared safely or in good time if there aren’t enough anaesthetists.
“When the Bill returns to the Commons we hope the Government will accept the amendment and is able to deliver on its commitment to support the NHS workforce and fulfil the health needs of the public.
“We also welcome the Government’s decision to amend the Bill and place a legal obligation on the NHS and individual Trusts to consider environmental concerns and work to decarbonise.
“Whilst a vast amount of positive work on this agenda is progressing across the UK, it is important that this responsibility to decarbonise and become a sustainable health service is written into law. We look forward to supporting the Government in shaping its guidance on procurement and accelerating the transformation of anaesthetic practice into net zero.”