Workforce plan must go hand in hand with reforms to regulation and clinical negligence law, says MDU

Responding to today’s publication of the NHS Long Term Workforce plan, Dr Matthew Lee, MDU chief executive, said:

“The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan is a welcome step forward – but it is precisely that, a first step on a journey to improve the working conditions of healthcare professionals in the NHS.

“Our members working in the NHS are doing their utmost to deliver exceptional patient care in the most difficult and pressured of circumstances. For too many, this is sadly impacting on their own health and their ability to care safely for patients.

“There is much to welcome in this plan, but workforce retention in the NHS is not helped if the regulatory system that healthcare professionals are subjected to is as outdated as the ones currently operated by the GMC, GDC and other regulators. Long awaited reform of these regulators must now urgently follow today’s announcement.

“You also cannot harness every penny possible in the NHS towards front line patient care if billions of pounds every year are leaving the system in clinical negligence settlements, because of a legal system that is no longer fit for purpose – with certain laws governing compensation being older than the NHS itself. The government has long promised action to address the unsustainable cost of clinical negligence and it’s now time for concrete proposals to see the light of day.

“The government has pledged an additional £2.4 billion to fund additional education and training places. But it is a sobering thought that this amount would be eclipsed in one year alone by the annual cost of harm reported by NHS Resolution. In 2021/22 this figure stood at over £13 billion. These amounts cannot be ignored in discussions about funding for more healthcare professionals. We need the government to tackle this issue.

“The MDU continues to make a strong case for these reforms with regulators and the government.”


The MDU is a not-for-profit organisation wholly dedicated to our members’ interests. Our team is led and staffed by doctors with real-life experience of the pressures and challenges faced in practice.

We offer our members expert guidance, personal support and robust defence in addressing medico-legal issues, complaints and claims. Our customised services range from legal assistance to indemnity to appropriate CPD.