A report into public attitudes towards the NHS, published by the Health Foundation, shows that the public wants to see an increase in NHS staff numbers to address spiralling waiting lists.
The findings align with assessments by the Royal College of Anaesthetists, that reveal a shortage of 1,400 anaesthetists across the UK is already preventing 1 million operations from happening each year.
Dr Fiona Donald, President of the RCoA said “The Health Foundation’s findings mirror what we see every day – our workforce is strained, and anaesthetic departments are struggling to find the spare capacity to address waiting lists. It is vital the number of anaesthetic training places is increased to help provide a long-term solution to this problem. Most operations require an anaesthetist, so unless the shortfall is addressed, it is difficult to see how the backlog can be tackled.”
The Health Foundation, alongside Medical Royal Colleges, has been calling for a comprehensive workforce strategy from government to address the huge and growing workforce gap facing the NHS and social care in England over the next decade.
Pauline Elliott, Chair of the RCoA Lay Committee, said “This report shows how much people value the NHS whilst also highlighting their concerns about the provision of health and social care now and in the future. People want services to improve but they recognise that workforce issues, including staffing and workload pressures, are impeding healthcare delivery and reform. Sadly, the report also reflects an all-too-familiar, persistent injustice – significant inequalities in healthcare.”