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I'm sorry I haven't a clue!

June 8, 2021 1:11 PM
7b4k (Photo by Red Dot on Unsplash)
Cabinet minister George Eustice has been busy in the media studios today

Apart from railing at the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol which sees a border established down the Irish Sea, an agreement struck to great fanfare only 6 months ago by out Prime Minister even though he clearly didn't understand what he had signed up to, he was also pressed on the parliamentary report that suggested that burnout of people in the NHS was putting the service at risk of implosion

The Health and Social Care Committee called for immediate action to support exhausted staff who have been pushed to breaking point during the pandemic.

In response the environment secretary told Sky News: "Yes, of course they've had a difficult year - if you're dealing with a pandemic, as they've had to, it's been a very difficult time, they've done extraordinarily well." Mr Eustice said the government had already recruited more staff and introduced a pay rise. Pushed on the issue, he responded: "Well, I'm not sure what more we can do."

Despite Mr Eustice's claims, the committee' pointed to long-standing, unresolved staffing issues in the NHS before the coronavirus pandemic began. There were 50,000 nursing vacancies in the UK. whilst , in adult social care, 7.3 per cent of roles in adult social care had been vacant during the financial year 2019-20, equivalent to around 112,000 vacancies at any one time.

In the report published on Tuesday, the MPs said: "The emergency that workforce burnout has become will not be solved without a total overhaul of the way the NHS does workforce planning.

"After the pandemic, which revealed so many critical staff shortages, the least we can do for staff is to show there is a long-term solution to those shortages, ultimately the biggest driver of burnout."

The MPs said that, while issues such as excessive workloads may not be solved overnight, staff should be given the confidence that a long-term solution is in place.

Now it may be argued that Mr Eustice as agriculture minister is no expert on the health service but to admit he has no idea about what to do about the issue speaks volumes for the governments competence

Alienating staff with a derisory 1% pay rise which risks many leaving the profession adding yet more strain on those who are left is not a great start ( see

http://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1405786/low-respect-the-nhs-consequences) . Charging for visas for health workers coming from Europe doesn't help much either ( see .http://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1406612/not-in-our-name) Nor did cutting bursaries for those studying to be nurses a few years ago

Of course Covid has exacerbated a problem which existed long before the pandemic. At its heart is along term strategy of Conservative driven austerity which has starved the NHS of resources and the ability to plan long term. Being told the government dose not know what more it can do is incredible. Listening and responding to those who understand the issues would be a good start!