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HEE looking to the future for the health and social care workforce

15 July 2021

HEE has been commissioned by the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, to work with our partners and review long term strategic trends for the health and social care workforce.

This will review, renew and update the existing long term strategic framework for the health workforce, HEE’s Framework 15, to help ensure we have the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours to deliver world leading clinical services and continued high standards of patient care. For the first time ever, the framework will also include registered professionals working in social care, like nurses and occupational therapists.

The first stage will build on the engagement established as part of the NHS People Plan and develop an ongoing conversation with partners and stakeholders about long term workforce planning for health and care.

Achieving the required level of expertise and professional training can take more than a decade in the NHS. It can take fifteen years to train a consultant, and typically three years for a nurse to qualify, so investment in the workforce must reflect the needs of tomorrow as well as today.

This work will look at the key drivers of workforce demand and supply over the longer term and will set out how they may impact upon the required shape of the future workforce, to help identify the main strategic choices.

HEE will shortly issue a ’Call for Evidence’ to identify the factors that may have the greatest impact on demand for the health and social care sector over the next fifteen years, and what this means for the workforce supply, to support patients and the population of the future.

Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive, Health Education England said:

“I’m delighted that HEE will lead the Strategic Framework for Health and Social Care Workforce, which will be a reference point and guide decisions on how the NHS and social care approaches problems and identifies solutions in the short, medium and long term.

“Students who are starting their courses today will be halfway through their careers when the NHS turns 100. If we have done our job well, we can expect that this workforce will be quite different to what we see today; ready to meet the future demands of the service, which will also be different to what we see now.

“This piece of work - which we will lead in close collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Department of Health and Social care and Skills for Care - is testament to the confidence in HEE’s role to deliver at scale and pace. As we collectively rethink what the service will look like and what transformation is needed, I would like to urge stakeholders, including patients, service users, carers, to get involved in the upcoming call for evidence and engagement exercise to help inform the final framework. As the NHS heads into its 74th year, more than ever, patients deserve nothing less than safe, high quality and compassionate care.”

Minister for Care Helen Whately said:

“People are at the heart of our NHS. It’s our doctors, nurses and other skilled healthcare workers that make the NHS such an amazing institution. Social care depends on its dedicated and skilled workforce too. I want us to look ahead and have a bold vision for the future NHS and care workforce.

“That is why I have asked Health Education England to work closely with my department, NHS England, Skills for Care and the wider sector to update HEE’s workforce framework, to make sure we have the right staff with the right skills for the future of our health and care services up and down the country.”

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, said:

“This work from Health Education England will build on the ambitions set out in the NHS People Plan to grow our workforce, create a compassionate and inclusive NHS and support our staff to fulfil their potential.

“To do this, we will need continued conversation with our partners and stakeholders, whose expertise is vital to ensure our long-term workforce planning provides the best possible experience for patients and staff and I’d encourage everyone to contribute and help us shape an NHS which meets everyone’s needs, both now and in the future.”

HEE will be running various virtual engagement events in future months. We will work closely with partners, including DHSC, NHS England and Improvement and Skills for Care, to ensure all voices and expertise are heard.

For more information or to get involved, please visit: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/long-term-strategic-framework-health-social-care-workforce-planning