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NHS workforce planning needs radical surgery, says HEE

What does the HEE say training and staffing need now?

Health Education England (HEE) has proposed a range of radical actions it says are required to enable the health service to meet demand over the coming decade.

Its proposals have the strong support of NHS England, Public Health England and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

A consultation document Facing the facts, shaping the future, a health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027 says that up to 42,000 posts in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions are said to be currently not filled.

However, the body points at positive developments including an increase in training, including a planned 25% increase in medical and nursing undergraduate places and highest-ever number of people entering GP training.

Reductions in NHS workforce vacancies and restrictions on agency spending are said to have released £700m in savings.

Specific measures now in consultation include:

  • retention schemes designed to encourage staff to continue working in healthcare, and efforts to make the NHS a more flexible family-friendly employer
  • better support for junior doctors and a greater emphasis on producing more doctors in staff shortage disciplines including general practice and psychiatry
  • a far-reaching technology review looking at how advances in genomics, pharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence and robotics will change the roles and functions of clinical staff and for future skills and training needs

The organisation warned big changes are needed in workforce planning to ensure we can meet the health needs of the country’s diverse and growing population in the future.

Further information

HEE: Health Education England launches plan to ‘future-proof’ NHS and care workforce