quote HEE facebook linkedin twitter bracketDetail search file-download keyboard-arrow-down keyboard-arrow-right close event-note

Workforce planning

With over 1.3 million staff performing over 300 different types of jobs across more than a 1,000 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.


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 will support healthcare providers and clinicians to take greater responsibility for planning and commissioning education and training through development of the Local Education and Training boards (LETBs).

 - Liberating the NHS – Developing the Healthcare Workforce, from Design to Delivery, Jan 2012

Since April 2013 Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) have been working collaboratively with providers to deliver effective workforce planning. In December 2014 we produced the second Workforce Plan for England

Each year, busy Trusts produce annual workforce plans in order to ensure they are employing the right workforce to meet the needs of current patients. But because it takes at least three years to train a nurse, and longer for other professionals like GPs and hospital doctors, Trusts also need to forecast future patient demand, to inform decisions about future workforce supply.

HEE is responsible for commissioning under and postgraduate education, to ensure that we have a workforce in the right numbers, with the right skills, values and behaviours to respond to the current and future needs of patients. HEE will ensure that our local and national plans are aligned with the service planning processes of providers and commissioners, so that we can help turn service strategies and visions into a reality. The decision-making points for workforce are often driven by the academic cycle rather than the financial annual planning round of the NHS, and are necessarily much longer term.

We will be driven by local needs and decision making. This unique governance model will ensure that providers, who at the moment are the main (but not the only) employers of healthcare staff, informed by clinicians and professional leaders who have day to day contact with many patients, can inform and shape the decisions about education, training and workforce planning.

As such, every employer has a duty to ensure that they are planning for and recruiting the right numbers of staff with the right skills and behaviours to meet the needs of their patients, and the boards of provider organisations are responsible for assuring themselves that current staffing levels are safe and appropriate.

Workforce Information Architecture

Through the Workforce Information Architecture work stream, a Minimum Data Set will be collected from all providers of healthcare. This will allow us to form an accurate picture of the current workforce and analysis of the data will help us identify local gaps in skills and capacity and allow us to commission training and education in the best way possible.

2015 is the first year, as part of a continuing process, when the latest live data will feed directly to the Workforce Plan for England. The collection is now more comprehensive than previously, giving us an even better understanding of the current workforce and ensuring we can plan more effectively.

Workforce Minimum Data Set (wMDS) return  
The next data collection will take place at the end of March 2016 with submissions required by mid-April 2016. We recognise that practices are under tremendous pressure and that having a qualified workforce available in the right numbers is an important part of the solution, and therefore, if you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to engage in the process and ensure you play your part in helping us plan a future workforce that meets the needs of all patients.

This is part of a continuing process, when the latest live data fed directly to HEE local teams to inform their workforce and investment plans. The collection is now more comprehensive than previously, with more data being added from primary care The purpose of this letter is to remind you of the value of collecting this data and signpost further information and help to support you in this process.

The current letters for GP practices and independent sector providers can be downloaded from the foot of this page.

Data is currently being analysed ahead of approval of our next Workforce Plan for England and subsequent publication early 2016.  

If you found this content useful you can share it on your favourite social network:

Or just grab the url to share wherever you like: