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On Wednesday 30 March, MPs voted down a crucial workforce amendment (29) to the Health and Care Bill.

As part of campaigning for this amendment ahead of the vote, our members wrote to more than 20 MPs highlighting why this amendment was so important for the sustainability of their local rheumatology workforce and improving patient care.

Responding to the vote, BSR President Dr Sanjeev Patel said: "We’re disappointed that despite strong cross-party support and the backing of over 100 health organisations, the majority of MPs voted against this very sensible amendment.

“How can the NHS plan and fund services effectively when they don't know how many doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are currently working for the NHS today, let alone how many they’ll need to train in the future?

“The government has failed to grasp the nettle of this issue. Staff are the NHS, and when workforce planning is poor, it’s patient care that ultimately suffers – and that is what we are battling against in rheumatology services every day".

Rheumatology services caring for the estimated 18 million people living with MSK and rheumatology conditions are in the grip of crises. Our Rheumatology workforce: a crisis in numbers report showed that there simply aren’t enough doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, psychologists and pharmacists in the UK’s rheumatology teams.

Despite this setback, we’ll continue to use our specialty workforce data to support dialogue with key parliamentarians as the Bill progresses through its final stage.