There are more than 700 health jobs needing to be filled across Devon as the NHS faces what MPs say is its worst ever staffing crisis. A search on the NHS jobs website on Monday found 713 vacancies within 30 miles of Newton Abbot, as an MP warned that a million more workers are needed in the health sector – half of those in the NHS and the rest for social care.
Edward Oldfield www.devonlive.com
There are openings in the NHS and care sector in Devon for doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and support staff in hospitals, GP surgeries and the ambulance service. The website showed 340 health jobs within 10 miles of Plymouth, 170 in the Exeter area, 177 in Torbay, and 27 in North Devon.
Jobs posted on Monday include a training administrator at the Exeter HQ of South Western Ambulance Service earning up to £21,777. A maternity staffing coordinator is needed at Torbay Hospital in Torquay on the same salary. The hospital is also recruiting bank delivery drivers paying up to £19,918 pro rata.
Front line health care jobs being advertised include bank healthcare support workers at Torbay Hospital at £11.42 an hour. Devon Partnership NHS Trust in Exeter is looking for an adult mental health staff nurse at a salary of up to £31,534. Practice Plus Group is recruiting a healthcare assistant and nurses at Channings Wood Prison near Newton Abbot.
The website shows there are vacancies for 136 nurses and midwives within 30 miles of Exeter, which includes Torbay and Taunton. The list showed more than 40 doctor jobs paying a salary of more than £100,000, for example a GP at Channings Wood Prison advertised at up to £120,000 depending on experience.
At the other end of the pay scale, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is looking for an improvement administrator apprentice at £8,092, and a health records modern apprentice paid £9,405 a year.
At Dawlish, a job as a phlebotomist, taking blood, is advertised at £9.53 an hour, and a healthcare assistant starts at £9.67 an hour. Admin staff at GP surgeries at Paignton and Exeter are advertised at £10 an hour. Practice Plus Group is recruiting NHS 111 advisers at Exeter at an hour rate from £10.19 to £13.11.
Persistent understaffing in the NHS is creating a serious risk to patient safety, MPs have said in a damning report. The cross-party Health and Social Care Committee said health and social care services in England face “the greatest workforce crisis in their history” and the Government has no credible strategy to make the situation better.
In a new report from the committee, research by the Nuffield Trust shows the NHS in England is short of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives. It said maternity services are “under unsustainable pressure”, while the number of full-time equivalent GPs also fell by more than 700 over three years to March 2022.
Projections suggest an extra 475,000 jobs will be needed in health and an extra 490,000 jobs in social care by the early part of the next decade. The report said: “In the face of this, the Government has shown a marked reluctance to act decisively. The workforce plan promised in the spring has not yet been published and will be a ‘framework’ with no numbers, which we are told could potentially follow in yet another report later this year.”
MPs said that while some progress has been made towards a target of recruiting 50,000 nurses, the Government is set to miss its target to recruit 6,000 more GPs, as promised in the Conservative Party manifesto. “The persistent understaffing of the NHS now poses a serious risk to staff and patient safety both for routine and emergency care. It also costs more as patients present later with more serious illness. But most depressing for many on the frontline is the absence of any credible strategy to address it.”
MPs said the Government’s “refusal” to make workforce planning data public “means that the basic question which every health and care worker is asking: are we training enough staff to meet patient need? will remain unanswered”.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is chair of the committee, said successive governments had failed to ensure that the NHS recruits enough doctors and nurses and the issue needs to be addressed urgently. He told GB News: “The fundamental problem that we lay bare in this report is our failure as a country to train enough doctors and nurses over many years and that is because government after government has said it doesn’t matter if we don’t quite train enough doctors because we can always import them from overseas.
“The fact is that Covid was a global pandemic. Everyone’s got their Covid backlog. There’s a shortage of two million doctors and 50 million nurses worldwide. It is just time we took a decision as a country that we have the biggest health system in the world with the NHS, we’re going to train the numbers we actually need.”
He said that the NHS and the social care system have a shortage of one million workers, split between the NHS and social care, and health workers needed to be paid more.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are growing the health and social care workforce, with over 4,000 more doctors, and 9,600 more nurses compared to last year, and over 1,400 more doctors in general practice compared to March 2019.
“As we continue to deliver on our commitment to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024, we are also running a £95 million recruitment drive for maternity services and providing £500 million to develop our valued social care workforce, including through training opportunities and new career pathways.
“We have commissioned NHS England to develop a long term workforce plan to recruit and support NHS staff while they deliver high quality, safe care to patients and help to bust the Covid backlogs.”