The IBMS has submitted evidence to the Public Accounts Committee's inquiry into managing NHS backlogs and waiting times, as part of its commitment to supporting the profession from the ground up and having an impact on government policy.
As the Committee reported in March, the NHS in England was already running at close to maximum capacity before COVID-19. Pandemic disruption caused a sharp increase in waiting times and backlogs. Addressing these backlogs is a multi-faceted challenge for the NHS.
In this follow up inquiry, the Committee will question senior officials at the Department for Health & Social Care and NHS England on the start they have made on tackling the elective care and cancer backlogs, focusing on:
- the design of national recovery plans
- implementation of the recovery plans, including the use of independent sector providers
- early progress made in recovering services.
Among the recommendations made by the IBMS are that:
- The Government should work closely with the IBMS to identify employment gaps in the biomedical science sector, as well as recognising the need to increase training numbers across all biomedical science disciplines
- The Government should commit to continued funding for the biomedical science sector to further diagnostic research that keeps pace with rapidly increasing demand
- The Government should work with the IBMS to gain better intelligence on the workforce, including the number of existing posts, vacancies, training posts and workload trends to help identify shortfalls
- The Government should encourage adoption of the Advance practice, consultant equivalent, biomedical scientists in every NHS Hospital to further reduce diagnostic backlogs and to further improve cancer outcomes through earlier diagnosis.
Upon the submission of the evidence, IBMS Chief Executive David Wells (pictured above) commented: “Workforce is one of the biggest solutions to tackling the cancer and elective care backlogs. The IBMS will continue to speak with one voice on this matter - encouraging more funding to support the biomedical workforce, to see more advance roles adopted and to recognise the vital role that Biomedical Scientists play in modern healthcare.”
The evidence the IBMS has submitted can be read in full here: https://www.ibms.org/resources/news/public-accounts-committee-inquiry-submission/