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NHS risks 350,000 staff gap by 2030 - thinktanks

17 November 2018

"Although there has been much discussion centred around long-term solutions and the need to address the lack of national workforce planning through the highly anticipated workforce strategy, we now need more immediate actions to ensure staff feel valued, stay within the NHS and to ensure we can continue to recruit internationally following Brexit", she added.

Following the publication of research from Nuffield Trust, King's Fund and Health Foundation - which indicates that unfilled vacancies across the National Health Service look set to skyrocket to 350,000 by 2030 - Michael Johnson-Ellis, Managing Director of Healthier Recruitment, has warned that Trusts must take a more strategic approach to workforce planning today to mitigate against future catastrophe.

The King's Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation said there was already a current shortage of more than 100,000 staff the National Health Service (NHS) and, based on current trends, the gap could reach nearly 250,000 by 2030.

The health care workforce in England: make or break? - draws on a new forecast of the staffing gaps emerging in the 1.2 million-strong NHS workforce.

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It warns that, even before this funding increase was pledged, the NHS can not recruit the staff it needs because of an "incoherent approach to workforce policy at a national level, poor workforce planning, restrictive immigration policies and inadequate funding for training".

The report estimates that if demand rises as predicted, the NHS will need 250,000 additional staff by 2030.

"Ministers must do the right thing and give the NHS and social care the investment the sector so urgently needs".

The report said funding for education and training dropped from five per cent of health spending in 2006-7 to three per cent in 2018-19, the equivalent of a £2bn drop.

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Strengthen workforce and health service planning.

The briefing also address problems in social care, which too is hampered by substantial staffing shortages and is especially vulnerable to plans to cut low-skilled migration.

Anita Charlesworth, director of economics at the Health Foundation, said: "The NHS is overstretched and services are being compromised by serious staff shortages".

But if the service continues to lose staff and cannot attract skilled workers from overseas the shortage could be as high as 350,000, more than a quarter of the current 1.2m workforce. However, on current trends, analysts project that the gap between staff needed and the number available could reach nearly 250,000 by 2020. "The potential for a profound and long-term shift in the way health and social care services are delivered is clear, but there is still a long way to go".

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NHS risks 350,000 staff gap by 2030 - thinktanks