A more strategic, coherent approach to workforce planning needed
30 March 2016
The Health Foundation has published a report on workforce policy in the NHS in England. Fit for purpose? calls for:
A new style of workforce policymaking, to bring it into the mainstream
Better understanding of people, with broader thinking about what motivates them
Medical education, staff shortages, and new roles should be three key priorities
The main concern of Fit for Purpose is the low priority that has been given to workforce policy to date, couching it mostly around financial considerations without sufficient attention being given to issues such as work/life balance, stress, morale and supportive management styles.
The most recent forecast from Health Education England about the availability of NHS staff in the future is highlighted. For example the worst case scenario is that the number of adult nurses will have fallen by around 3,000 by 2020. Also highlighted is the dependence on international nursing staff, and the report proposes an alternative system for when roles are difficult to recruit to. In the new system there would be a mixture of different types of roles such as care co-ordinators, and more assistant or associate roles.
The main recommendation of the report is a call for a National Workforce Strategy to take forward a new approach to workforce planning, training, pay and conditions.
“We need a more strategic approach to workforce planning to prevent the NHS lurching from one workforce crisis to another.”
Siva Anandaciva, NHS Providers, said:
“We welcome the suggestion of a new National Workforce Strategy Board to provide greater strategic direction and coordination to workforce planning, building on the existing work of Health Education England.”