Strategic planning

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Workforce planning: why and how? 

NHS Employers is committed to helping you to develop and provide a workforce which is skilled, adaptable, engaged and healthy. In the challenging context of ever increasing demand for services, providers of health, social care and education across England are working together to design and deliver service change under 44 new local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). An important element of these plans is workforce.

Follow the links below to help you navigate the workforce priorities, and to understand how we - and other key organisations - can support you.

Domestic and international workforce strategies

Employers are thinking creatively about how they reduce reliance on international recruitment in light of changes to immigration rules and the UK’s relationship with the European Union, after Brexit. We are working with employers to help you to consider the implications of these changes, and consider relevant action needed to lessen the risks. 

Employers know that it is a priority to put in place strategies to deliver a sustainable pipeline of domestic talent which will serve the NHS. We are working with you to think about the whole workforce, as well as the specific pressure points such as nursing. Alternative routes into healthcare careers, and the use of new and emerging roles to support service delivery are all part of the innovative solutions you are implementing. Find out how others are reshaping the non-medical workforce with positive outcomes. 

Our work with employers to train, recruit and retain the right staff should also contribute to attempts to reduce the reliance and spend on agency staff, which is another significant challenge for workforce leaders. 

Attracting and developing your workforce

In order to address current and predicted workforce shortages, and improve workforce diversity and effectiveness, employers are working with key partners to widen participation in healthcare education and careers. 

Changes to apprenticeships, and the new employer levy for example, offer opportunities for current NHS staff to develop their skills up to masters’ degree level, or for people who would ordinarily not have access to professional roles to follow alternative routes into the service. NHS Employers can help you to consider how apprenticeships can complement your workforce strategy. 

Visit our dedicated web pages for more advice and resources to support you with with the effective recruitment, retention and education and development of your workforce.

Workforce planning support from other organisations

Health Education England (HEE) has a statutory remit to oversee workforce planning, education and training for the NHS. As such, HEE issues guidance for the planning process, which is supported by tools like Skills for Health's six step workforce planning methodology


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