A Conservative Party manifesto pledge to hire 26,000 extra health professionals to work in GP surgeries is set to be broken by the Tory government, health leaders have warned, leaving family doctors straining under a heavier workload.
About 9,500 of the promised physiotherapists, pharmacists, mental health therapists and other clinical staff so far have been recruited to help GPs and practice nurses.
Senior doctors have warned that patients will pay the price for the slow delivery of extra personnel by facing persistently long waits for an appointment.
But in November the health secretary, Sajid Javid, admitted that Johnson’s often-repeated 6,000 extra GPs pledge would be missed.
Official NHS workforce statistics highlighted by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) show that by September only an estimated 9,464 extra clinical staff had been recruited – far short of the 13,000 that should have been in post by then at a rate of 5,200 a year for five years, given the ARRS scheme had begun in March 2019.
“The impact of not having enough staff in general practice is being felt acutely both by GPs and our team members who are working to their limits, and our patients, who are facing longer waits for the care they need. Meeting this [extra staff] target – and the GP target – will be vital to addressing this.”
NHS workforce statistics show that in September there were still only …
- 14 podiatrists
- 38 dieticians
- 79 mental health therapists
… working across the 6,600 GP surgeries in England. There were also just 47 health support workers and 252 health and wellbeing coaches, who advise on lifestyle.