Workforce concerns raised in advance of NHS long-term plan

Workforce concerns raised in advance of NHS long-term plan

November 15, 2018

A report on the NHS workforce published today warns that staff shortages could triple in a decade.

Analysis by the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust – presented in The health care workforce in England: Make or break? – suggests that the health service could be short of more than 350,000 staff by 2030.

The NHS is struggling to recruit and retain the staff needed to meet rising demand and, if this continues at the same rate, the report argues that it could lead to growing waiting lists and a deterioration in the quality of care provided.

The think tanks propose five key tests, which they say the NHS long-term plan will need to pass:

  1. address workforce shortages in the short term;
  2. address workforce shortages in the long term;
  3. support new ways of working;
  4. address race and gender inequalities in pay and progression; and
  5. strengthen workforce and service planning at all levels of the system.

Under test 3, the report advises that existing healthcare staff should be “contributing at the optimum level of their skill set”, suggesting that “pharmacists can take on medication reviews and some elements of long-term condition management”.

Alastair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services, said:

“We agree that HM Government and NHS leaders need to address the mounting challenges facing the NHS workforce, however the network of over 11,600 community pharmacies are ideally placed to assist. As pressure on the NHS workforce increases, it is more important than ever that we make best use of community pharmacies. There is much more that they could do to help keep people healthy and out of hospitals, in particular by caring for people with long-term conditions, being the first port of call for healthcare advice and acting as health and wellbeing hubs.”

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