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NHS England workforce plan delayed amid rumours of cost issues

NHS leaders have raised concerns about the delay to the long-awaited workforce plan, after the health secretary, Steve Barclay, refused to give a deadline for its publication and with rumours suggesting it is considered too costly.

The plan, which was expected to be published on Tuesday, appears to have been delayed, according to the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery.

Barclay blamed the pandemic and “various things that have been happening in recent years” for the delay during broadcast interviews over the weekend. He had previously promised that the plan to increase the number of doctors and nurses would be published before the next general election.

Cordery said the plan, which aims to fix the UK’s crumbling healthcare system by plugging chronic staff shortages but which has already been postponed from last year, was needed “as quickly as possible”.

Until this weekend NHS Providers – which represents all England’s hospital, ambulance, community and mental health trusts – had believed publication of the plan was “imminent”. Cordery suggested that the failure to release it could be linked to the need for funding.

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Source: The Guardian, 29 May 2023


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