Medical vacancies data shows doctors are more stretched than ever, warns BMA

by BMA media team

BMA press release. 

Location: England
Published: Thursday 1 September 2022
Press release icon

Responding to the latest set of NHS vacancies data1 which shows a sharp increase in the number of medical and overall NHS vacancies since March 2022, BMA representative body chair and workforce lead Dr Latifa Patel said:

“The sharp rise in vacancies across the NHS, including a significant increase in medical vacancies, is clear evidence of the enormous strain that the NHS and its staff are under as the workforce is stretched further than ever.

“We know that doctors are burnt out and exhausted as the extreme increase of more than 2,500 medical vacancies since March 2022 highlights just how bad the situation has become. Rising vacancies force remaining doctors to stretch themselves even more thinly, which will further exacerbate workforce shortages as many of those doctors and staff remaining may also be pushed to the point of leaving the NHS - as many already have.

“While pay will not fix these problems alone, this is clear evidence that doctors are being expected to treat more patients with less doctors on the ground and should be a strong reason for the Government to seriously consider the BMA’s calls for pay restoration.

“It is also a stark reminder to the Government that they need to urgently address the pension taxation system which is driving highly skilled senior doctors out of the profession early due to unfair tax bills, at a time when the NHS can least afford to lose them.

“It is crucial that the forthcoming Long Term Workforce Plan includes fully modelled workforce assessments and retention initiatives as part of a credible plan to addressing the workforce crisis, both now and in the future. Without this the trend will only continue, patient care will continue to worsen and waiting lists will continue to grow.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives. 

  1. NHS vacancy data for England.

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