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MPs reject call for regular health and care workforce audit

Political think-tank the Health Foundation has criticised MPs for voting “the wrong way” on workforce and social care means testing provisions set out in the Health and Social Care Bill.

Director of policy Hugh Alderwick says that the MPs vote to ditch plans for a regular health and care workforce audit is a “missed chance to put in place a more efficient way of planning the workforce of the future.”

Peers debating the Bill voted in favour of an amendment, which would have implemented a national, independent view of how many health and social care staff are needed to keep pace with projected patient demand over the next 5, 10 and 20 years.

Over 100 health and care organisations recently signed an open letter to the prime minister urging him to back this amendment. There is also a Royal College of Physicians’ briefing on this amendment.

Setting out her amendment, Baroness Cumberlege said: “Without improved planning, we will not know whether we have the right people in the right place at the right time.”

However, former chief executive of NHS England and co-sponsor of the amendment, Lord Simon Stevens, said that current “workforce pressures” made it “obvious that we do need regular workforce planning”.

MPs also voted in defiance of the Lords to push through the £86,000 care cap. Research from the IFS and the Health Foundation has found those living in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the Midlands will be hit hardest by the new means test.

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