NHS short of 50,000 doctors as bleak winter looms, says BMA
The NhS in england is short of around 50,000 doctors ahead of what is set to be one of the worst winters on record, the British Medical Association has said.
The BMA warned that the number had fallen behind comparable european Union countries, with 2.8 doctors per 1,000 people compared to an eU average of 3.7.
Its research at the start of the summer showed that meeting this average would require scaling up the medical workforce by an additional 31 per cent – or a further 49,162 full-time equivalent (FTe) doctors. The latest data showed falling primary and secondary care doctor numbers pushing the shortage up to 50,191 FTe doctors, it added. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chairman, said: ‘With flu season on the horizon and even fewer staff this time round, it’s a total unknown as to how well our services will cope – if they even cope at all.’
The BMA said it was already lobbying for amendments on workforce provision in the upcoming health and Social Care Bill, which proposes a requirement for the health Secretary to publish a report detailing workforce planning every five years.
It comes as a survey by charity engage Britain found that one in five people have been forced to turn to private healthcare because NhS treatment was unavailable.