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Joint statement on Workforce Challenges across health and care

National Voices have published a joint statement, supported by 85 patient charities and professional bodies, calling on the Government to commit to a comprehensive and fully-resourced response to the serious challenges faced by the NHS and social care workforce, which continue to badly impact the experiences of people accessing health and care.

  • Communication and administration
  • Health inequalities

Joint statement on Workforce Challenges across health and care 

We have come together as a coalition of patient charities and professional bodies to call on the Government to commit to a serious, comprehensive and fully-resourced response to workforce challenges across health and care, which are now badly impacting people’s experience of health and care.

The current workforce crisis has been developing over decades across the health and care system. While the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have left many staff feeling burnt out, challenges with recruitment and retention across health and care long pre-date the pandemic. They have real, life and death, implications for people and communities up and down the country. 

The impacts of the workforce crisis are felt from cradle to grave, and from diagnosis, through treatment to after care. Gaps in General Practice, secondary care, community-based support, mental health services, and social care impact across every patient group, and are particularly felt in already underserved communities.  Too often the debate on staffing health and care happens without people who use these services in the room. 

As patient groups we are vocal about the changes we want to see in health and care, including when we need more or better from our health and care staff. But we also know that the changes we want can’t be delivered by staff who are under-supported, over-stretched, and (increasingly) planning to leave. We need an NHS that works for everyone, but we will not get that as long as it is underfunded and under-resourced.

The Government’s response on workforce to date has been far from proportionate to the scale of the challenges faced.  As a result, people’s experiences of health and care are getting worse, and, as recent analysis of the British Social Attitudes survey demonstrated, confidence in the health and care system is faltering.

Together with professional bodies, we reject narratives that pit the workforce against the people who use health and care services. Many of us are, or will at some point be, both patients and staff members of these services. The health and wellbeing of our communities is enhanced when health and care services offer good work to local people.

It is critical that the long-anticipated NHS workforce plan is fully-funded, clearly sets out the workforce numbers required, and is built on the needs and aspirations of people who use health and social care services both now and in the future. It must be designed and delivered with the diverse range of people who work in health and care services and who use them.  

Health and care professionals must have the time, energy and training they need to deliver personalised care and support that focusses on what matters to us, rather than what is the matter with us. 

We ask the Government to treat this challenge with the urgency, seriousness and resource it deserves.  

With kind regards, 

Sarah Sweeney 

Interim Chief Executive 

National Voices 

With the support of 85 patient charities and professional bodies:

Action against Medical Accidents 

Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis 


Allergy UK  

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

Association of Anaesthetists

Behçet’s UK 

Birth Trauma Association 


Blood Cancer UK 

British Medical Association Patient Liaison Group 

Bowel Cancer UK 

British Geriatrics Society 

British Liver Trust 

C3 Collaborating for Health 


Cardiomyopathy UK 

Cauda Equina Champions Charity  

Crohn’s & Colitis UK  


Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance 

Diabetes UK 

Disability Rights UK 

Dystonia UK 

East Staffordshire District Patient Engagement Group 

Endometriosis UK

Faculty of Public Health

FND Hope UK 

Friends and Families – Empowering Families with Disabled Children 

Future Care Capital 

Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies  

Gender Identity Research and Education Society  

Help2Change CIC 

Hounslow Borough Respiratory Support Group 


Juvenile Arthritis Research 

Kidney Care UK 

Long Covid Kids 

Long Covid SOS 

Long Covid Support 


Lymphoedema Support Network 

Macmillan Cancer Support 

Mental Health Foundation 

Mental Health UK 


Motor Neurone Disease Association 

MS Society 

National Association of Deafened People  

National Counselling Society 

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society 

National Survivor User Network 

National Ugly Mugs 

Out with Prostate Cancer 

Parathyroid UK 

Parkinson’s UK 

Patient Safety Learning 

Patients Association 

Positively UK 

Pseudomyxoma Survivor 

Rethink Mental Illness 

Royal College of Emergency Medicine 

Royal College of General Practitioners 

Royal College of Physicians 

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Royal College of Radiologists

Royal Pharmaceutical Society 

Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK 

Shine Cancer Support 

Stripy Lightbulb CIC 

Stroke Association 

The Hibbs Lupus Trust 

The Neurological Alliance 

The Point of Care Foundation 

The Richmond Group of Charities 

The Royal College of Anaesthetists  

The Royal College of Pathologists 

Time To Talk Mental Health UK 

Together for Short Lives 

Turning Point 

United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum 

Urostomy Association 

Versus Arthritis 


Your SimPal 

Joint Workforce Statement – PDF version.