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Workforce planning

Providing system-wide leadership and oversight of workforce planning


With over 1.3 million staff performing over 300 different types of jobs across more than a 1000 different employers, the NHS requires a robust workforce planning process to ensure we have staff in the right numbers, with the right skills and the right values and behaviours to deliver high quality care.

At Health Education England (HEE), part of our core role as an autonomous national body is to provide system wide leadership and oversight of workforce planning, education and training. We will work to ensure that healthcare staff are recruited in the right numbers with the right values and behaviours to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and drive improvement.

HEE published the Workforce and Education Plan for England on 16 December which sets out the £5bn investment they will make in education and training programmes for 2015/16.

All of the LETBs in England have contributed to the national document and are required to write their own local Workforce and Education Plans. The plan for south London has been published and we would like to thank all of those who were involved in meeting with us to discuss and determine our education commissions for 2014/15.

This year we met the national growth targets in areas set out in the mandate to HEE and have delivered growth in GP numbers as required in the national plan. We have also increased adult nursing education commissions to support our trusts to deliver the recommendations made in the Report of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the Review into the Quality of Care and Treatment provided by 14 hospital trusts in England and NICE ‘Safer Staffing’ guidelines. Following discussion with stakeholders, we plan to commission new roles in a number of areas to support service delivery and new education routes where we recognise there will be a growing requirement for this type of workforce. These are:

  • Physician Associates: our current workforce planning process does not allow us to estimate demand for this workforce in a robust way. Working with our provider trusts, we understand that this new role is essential for trusts to address the service gaps created as more junior doctor posts are reconfigured to support GP expansion and the broadening of the Foundation Programme.
  • Practice Nursing: we are piloting the direct commissioning of this role with our Community Education Provider Networks. This workforce will be important in delivering transformation in Primary Care services. We are commissioning 20 places this year with an intention to increase this number next year.
  • Advanced Practitioners: we are also piloting direct commissioning of advanced practitioners. This will mainstream the supply of this workforce which is currently subject to the availability of workforce development monies.

The plan also includes some recommendations of how we intend to develop the workforce and education planning process in 2015/16 which will include the medical and non-medical workforce.

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