It warns that the situation was already an emergency prior to the Covid – there were said to be 50,000 nursing vacancies before the pandemic – and is even more dire now.
And coming 24 hours after Mr Padgham’s open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned of 120,000 unfilled roles in care homes, these are numbers that cannot be ignored by Ministers in National Carers Week.
Put simply, only the goodwill of NHS staff and carers has ensured that there have been sufficient staff to look after the most sick, and vulnerable, during the pandemic.
Yet, while this is indicative of the esteem in which the NHS continues to be held, this forebearance does not apply automatically to Mr Hancock who risks taking the support of staff for granted – even more so on those occasions when he portrays himself as a one-man government and forgets that the letter ‘i’ is absent from the word ‘team’.
Both he and NHS leaders at a local, regional and national level need to be doing far more to support doctors, nurses and medical staff from a pay rise that reflects the specific demands of the pandemic on them to any practical support like counselling – exhausted clinicians will struggle to do their best for patients in their care.
Equally they need to be taking action now to encourage people to take up careers in health and medicine – delaying this until the pandemic has passed will only exacerbate this issue because of the length of time it can take to train frontline staff.
As such, it’s more critical than ever that this recurring question – who is caring for the carers? – has an affirmative answer. Over to you, Mr Hancock.
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