NHS leaders have warned that the health service in the UK is facing a ‘chronic undersupply’ of staff in a joint letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and Unison are calling on the government to act rapidly to address the workforce crisis in the NHS.

In their letter, the six organisations implored the government to clearly outline the workforce requirements for delivering the NHS Long Term Plan across the country, adding that extra funding is needed to ensure staff can help patients and cover the additional workforce costs emerging from COVID-19.

This means additional investment in workforce capacity is needed, according to the organisations, so that the growing elective care backlog can be addressed.

“As the people of the NHS emerge from the pandemic proud of their contribution to the safety of the nation but exhausted after the most testing year they will ever have experienced, we ask you to give them hope,” wrote the leaders of the six organisations.

“Hope that there is a plan (matched by investment) which will address shortages of NHS staff in the medium and long term, and hope that such planning finally becomes a routine way of how the government and the NHS work together to improve the health and wealth of the nation,” they added.

They also highlighted how an increase in staff will help to bolster mental health services, as predictions identify that up to ten million people will need new or additional mental health support as a results of the ongoing crisis and ‘economic downturn’.

“We desperately need the government to give the people working in the NHS hope that the gaps in their teams will be filled in the longer term.  It is deeply worrying that far too many NHS staff feel that they are unable to do their job properly because they simply do not have enough colleagues to support them,” said Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation.