Area of work:

The health care workforce needs to change in order to meet future challenges. But with restricted budgets, developments in workforce redesign will need to be appropriately prioritised. We are working on a project designed to address key priorities within the service, and government strategy for the future health care workforce.

Our work will focus on three key and interrelated policy/service questions:

1. How do we develop the current workforce to better support new models of care?

There is a gap between the future model of care, as set out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, and the workforce required to support it.

We will identify key areas where workforce change is required and suggest potential strategies to address the issues, including the role of patients and non-statutory organisations.

2. Are there opportunities to change the current health care skill mix to address current and future workforce shortages and/or release resources?

We are looking at evidence from the literature on potential savings from changing the workforce skill mix.

We are tackling the issue more broadly and considering the other advantages to shifts in the skill mix. For example, quicker and cheaper training, more flexible staff, and greater patient focus.

3. Does the current investment of around £5 billion a year in training represent value for money, and are there ways in which this investment could be used more effectively?

Most of the professionals who will be working in the NHS in ten years’ time are working in the NHS today. Any workforce redesign needs to focus more on re-training or re-purposing the current workforce so that they have the skills needed to deliver new models of care, than on the training of new junior medical staff.

“Currently less than five per cent of the £5 billion training budget is allocated to continuing professional development, while the rest is spent on securing professional qualifications.”

Approximately 60 per cent of the NHS’s training budget is spent on doctors (12 per cent of the workforce) and 35 per cent is spent on nurses and allied health professionals (40 per cent of the workforce).

We are exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach to investment in training, including looking at alternative approaches, drawing on international experiences.

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