Draft workforce strategy recognises long term needs of NHS and social care
13 December 2017
- Health Education England publishes draft workforce strategy
- Consultation opens on measures including retention schemes and improvement to training designed to ‘future-proof’ the NHS workforce
- We strongly welcome the long-term approach and the “constructive” start to addressing workforce concerns
Health Education England has published its drafted national workforce strategy – Facing the Facts: Shaping the Future.
A consultation is now open on the draft document, with a final report to be next July to coincide with the NHS 70 anniversary.
Measures to ‘future-proof’ the NHS workforce include:
- Targeted retention schemes to encourage staff to continue working in healthcare;
- Improvements to medical training and support for junior doctors;
- a far-reaching technology review across England;
- making the NHS a more inclusive and ‘family-friendly’ employer.
The strategy acknowledges rising demand and pressure on NHS staff, noting 42,000 vacancies across nursing, midwifery and allied health professions.
The strategy suggests without further action to reduce demand the NHS will need to grow by 190,000 posts by 2027.
Responding to the drafted workforce strategy, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:
We strongly support the long-term approach in assessing workforce needs ten years from now that this report outlines.
“We strongly support the long-term approach in assessing workforce needs ten years from now that this report outlines. This is the first time the NHS has taken such a long term view, but it’s one that’s definitely needed.
“In our recent workforce report we called for a coordinated workforce strategy with clear goals in sight that match the realities of demographic pressures and new approaches to care. Addressing staff shortages and having the right quality and supply of staff for the future is the number one concern for NHS trust leaders. This consultation document is a sensible and constructive start to addressing these concerns.
“It is particularly encouraging to see that Health Education England has recognised the scale and urgency of staff and skills shortages across both health and social care – highlighting the fact that patients and service users often do not distinguish between the two, and emphasising the importance of high quality social care services to the NHS.
“ And we are pleased that the national NHS bodies will consult widely in developing these plans. It is vital that the concerns of NHS trusts, including community, mental health and ambulance services as well as hospitals, are heard and heeded.
It is important that the final strategy - to be published next summer – is clear about where responsibilities lie nationally and at local level, recognising the key role of NHS trusts as employers.
“ It is important that the final strategy - to be published next summer – is clear about where responsibilities lie nationally and at local level, recognising the key role of NHS trusts as employers.
“There are significant omissions which must be addressed, including a much clearer commitment to overseas recruitment so trusts can fill posts that can not be taken – at least for the time being – by the domestic workforce.
“We also want to see more on helping people with valuable skills who have left the health service to return to the NHS.
“We will need to fully work through the obvious consequences of these proposals, including the linked financial and funding requirements.”