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Medical staffing agency responds to 7-Day NHS Pledge

Specialist healthcare recruitment agency, MSI Group, supports these proposals but warns that staff shortages will challenge the viability of this proposal. 

Commenting on the Government’s outline plans, Nick Simpson, CEO of MSI Group said, “As an organisation which is on the front line of recruitment into the NHS, we understand the direct correlation between timely access to healthcare professionals and patient safety. On this basis, we welcome proposals to extend the availability to access to GPs. However, it is perhaps needless to say, that an increase in availability of front line services will exacerbate existing GP and Nurse Practitioner shortages.

“It’s no secret that the NHS is already struggling to recruit enough GPs and other health professionals. Indeed, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has estimated a fourfold increase in unfilled posts since 2010. According to analysis by health think-tank The King’s Fund, this shortage can be attributed to fewer GP training posts being filled, coupled with more family doctors choosing to take early retirement.

“It’s encouraging to see that the RCGP, in conjunction with NHS England, has set out a 10-point plan which addresses the need to pipeline future talent. However, until better workforce planning strategies are in place, the success of a truly seven-day NHS rests on the short term availability of locum doctors and agency nurses. There are simply not enough GPs to fill current permanent positions and extending opening hours will only stretch available resources. Without the use of agency staff, the health service would fall over. Cameron’s proposals will only compound the need for flexible staffing solutions to maintain quality front line services.” 


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