The health care workforce in England

The health care workforce in England: make or break | The Health Foundation King’s Fund | Nuffield Trust 

This briefing highlights the scale of the NHS workforce challenges and the threat this poses to the delivery and quality of care. It sets out the reasons why the NHS long-term plan and a supporting workforce strategy must address the urgent and mounting challenges facing the health care workforce. 

The authors suggest that if the substantial staff shortages continue, they could lead to growing waiting lists, deteriorating care quality and the risk that some of the £20.5bn secured for NHS front-line services will go unspent: even if commissioners have the resources to commission additional activity, health care providers may not have the staff to deliver it.

The briefing will be followed in the coming weeks by a more in-depth report that explores five key levers available nationally and locally that could help ameliorate the workforce crisis affecting both health and social care.

Full briefing available at The King’s Fund

Related: Staffing shortfall of almost 250,000 by 2030 is major risk to NHS long term plan | The Health Foundation


Care staffing in the NHS, the good, the bad and the promising

This report gives an insight into nursing and HCA numbers. This includes data on gender, regions and how staff numbers vary by type of trust | BPP

In 2018, BPP approached 220 NHS trusts in England – of which 89% responded as part of this report. The report found that although vacancy rates have risen substantially, nursing numbers in hospitals have remained broadly flat. The authors highlight that although nursing numbers appear to be holding up, the sharp increase in vacancies tells a different story. They have soared by over a fifth in two years. As the country’s ageing population has risen, demand for more care and more complex care has increased.

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There are 2,200 more emergency admissions per day than there were five years ago, for instance, 31% more diagnostic tests, while delays due to waiting for available home care have more than doubled. Unfortunately, supply hasn’t increased in line with that demand – In other words, the crisis in recruitment is largely down to trusts being unable to meet rising demand rather than nursing numbers going into reverse, hence the shortfall in recruitment and the rise in use of agency nurses, which increased by 37% between December 2015 and December 2017.


Full document: Care staffing in the NHS, the good, the bad and the promising | BPP University School of Nursing

Caring, supportive, collaborative? Doctors’ views on working in the NHS

Following the launch of its all member survey in the spring 2018, the BMA has published a report highlighting how the views expressed by doctors will contribute to developing a positive vision for what a caring, supportive, and collaborative health and care system should look like.

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In May and June 2018, doctors across the UK were invited to share their views on a range of issues affecting their working lives and focusing on three themes: culture, structure and workforce.  Just under 8,000 members completed this comprehensive survey. This report sets out the responses received, which together provide a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities facing doctors in the NHS today.

The results reveal that many doctors feel they are working in a non- supportive environment, where patient safety can at times be jeopardised and learning and reflection discouraged. They also demonstrate the dire consequences of insufficient funding, medical personal, support staff, beds and equipment on the doctors working conditions and patient treatments. The results also point out the damaging impact of poor lines of communication and IT support on the efforts to encourage greater innovation and collaboration in our health services.

More detail: BMA press release:  Launch of new project calls for solutions to NHS challenges amid fears of unsafe care and blame culture

Full report: Caring, supportive, collaborative?  Doctors’ views on working in the NHS

Routes into nursing

NHS Employers | August 2018| Routes into nursing

A new infographic relesased by NHS Employers highligts the different routes into nursing.  Until recently, the routes to developing registered nurses within the workforce have been limited, with the university degree being the main way to train this group of staff. 

The introduction of the nursing degree apprenticeship gives a new opportunity for employers to train nurses, while the creation of the new nursing associate role can help to be a bridge between healthcare assistants and graduate registered nurses. These new routes can create a confusing picture for employers and so we have created a resource to support you to make the most of the new and existing routes into nursing (Source: NHS Employers).

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The infographic is available to download from NHS Employers
See also
NHS Employers also provide an overview of the different routes, follow each link for further details:

Frequently Asked Questions on the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES)

NHS England | July 2018 | Frequently Asked Questions on the NHS Workforce Race
Equality Standard (WRES)

NHS England have released frequently asked questions (FAQs).  This document presents the frequently asked questions regarding the NHS Workforce Race Equality Analysis. It is intended to help support the understanding and use of the WRES.

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Further information on the work of the national WRES Implementation Team can be found at NHS England


Future of work: the impact of technology and avoiding solutioning

NHS Employers| July 2018| Future of work: the impact of technology and avoiding solutioning 

A new podcast from NHS Employers includes discussion around Wilson Wong, head of insights and futures at CIPD, recent presentation to conference delegates at the NHS Confederation’s 2018 annual conference. 

headphones-592196_1280Wilson argues that paying attention to the drivers that are shaping our futures will enable us to put some shape to these futures and consequently act on any blind spots in strategic thinking. He also touches on how the NHS could apply futures methodology to its work, referencing Professor Topol’s review on the NHS Workforce (Source: NHS Confederation).

You can listen to the full podcast here 



Professor Topol’s review on the NHS Workforce 


Leadership in today’s NHS: delivering the impossible

The King’s Fund & NHS Providers | July 2018 | Leadership in today’s NHS: delivering the impossible

The King’s Fund & NHS Providers report the findings from their  survey of NHS trusts and foundation trusts conducted in 2017 by NHS Providers, the survey used qualitative interviews and a roundtable event with frontline leaders and national stakeholders.


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Among the findings from the survey:

  • Leadership vacancies are widespread, with director of operations, finance and strategy roles having particularly high vacancy rates and short tenures
  • A culture of blaming individuals for failure is making leadership roles less attractive. Organisations with the most significant performance challenges experience higher levels of leadership churn. National bodies need to do more to support leaders to take on and stay in these roles.
  • To tackle high leadership churn, national programmes should target professional roles  where concerns over the pipeline of future leaders is greatest. Regional talent
    management functions – largely absent since the abolition of strategic health authorities – should be rebuilt in the new joint NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams (Source: The King’s Fund & NHS Providers).

The news release from  The King’s Fund  can be viewed here

The summary is available here 

The report can be read from The King’s Fund 

NHS Providers NHS trusts face worryingly high levels of senior vacancies

NHS Providers & The Kin’gs Fund Infographic