The Health Secretary has been unable to say when the important report will be published.
A chronic storage of nurses could trigger the collapse of health and social care services across the UK.
The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has issued a stark warning that there is a real risk health and social care services across the country might collapse unless urgent action is taken to address a shortage of registered nurses.
Ministers have pledged the long-promised NHS workforce plan would address the worsening workforce shortage but it has been delayed once again.
Things are now desperately bad across both primary and secondary care services with no hint of improvement.
Across acute services, there has been a sixteen-fold increase in the number of patients waiting more than 4 hours in A&E, elective waiting lists have risen by 169%, and nursing vacancy rates continue to be at record levels.
In the community, the number of learning disability nurse and, community nurses have also fallen by nearly 50% and the number of health visitors has fallen by nearly a third (30%).
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been unable to say when the important report will be published.
A dangerous game.
RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, warned: “These figures paint a disturbing picture for patients in hospitals and nursing homes, in the community and in their own homes. The crisis in the nursing workforce is leaving patient care at risk and the immense pressure could risk the collapse of health and care services.
“Ministers are playing a dangerous game by delaying the long-awaited NHS workforce plan – we simply cannot wait any longer.
“But the workforce plan won’t be the end of the story. Our assessment confirms the fact we need investment right across health and care services – without that patients will continue to lose out.
“Some of the most vulnerable are stuck in hospital, partly because of under-investment in social care and more than a decade of declining community nursing numbers. The knock-on effect in hospitals is disturbing, with four-hour plus waiting times increasing 16-fold between 2011 and 2022.
“This catalogue of issues must be addressed urgently, or many people will continue to go without the care they need.
“No more delays, the government needs to deliver.”