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The NHS employs over 1.3 million staff, working in around 300 different types of jobs for more than 1000 employers. Effective workforce planning is key to ensuring that the service has enough staff, with the right skills and values to be able to provide excellent patient-centred care, now and in the future.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for providing system-wide leadership and oversight of workforce planning, education and training for the health service.

NHS service providers are working with HEE and education providers - through their Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) - to ensure the right staff are entering the workforce at the right time, and in the right numbers. To this end, employers are required to produce annual service plans, and future workforce forecasts, which in turn, inform local and national plans. Find out more about the responsibilities of HEE, LETBs and education and service providers on the Health Education England website

The pages below contain advice and guidance to help you think about the shape and make up of your workforce, as multidisciplinary and partnership working becomes increasingly necessary for delivering patient centred services. The information may refer to specific parts of the workforce, but the principles will be applicable across the NHS. Use the links on the right to access further information and tools to help you with your workforce planning.


Workforce supply

Workforce supply is about much more than recruitment; a good workforce strategy should use evidence-based approaches to address current challenges and should be sustainable and focused on the future. 

Group of hospital staff

Medical workforce

Planning and shaping the medical workforce continues to be the subject of intense scrutiny and debate. This section looks at how NHS Employers is influencing this debate and how organisations can get involved.


Agency staff

Agency workers and temporary staff are a widely used resources within the NHS and can help NHS organisations manage fluctuations in workforce demand. Here we describe the regulations, different temporary staffing solutions and how employers can reduce agency spend.


Medical associate professions

The section contains information on medical associate professions (MAPs) - four roles that have been developed to support the medical workforce.

four young people outside a hospital

The Prince's Trust

Find out about the work NHS Employers is undertaking with The Prince's Trust and how you can support more young people into employment.

Nurse working on computer

Nursing workforce

A number of developments and drivers are changing the context of healthcare and nursing. Awareness of these priorities, as you plan what staff you need, is vital to the provision of excellent patient care.

Allied Health Professionals

Allied health professions are made up of fifteen different occupations. In this section we provide an over of the roles and the training route available.

Podiatry students

Podiatry workforce

Learn about the role of a podiatrist and the skills they can bring to a multi-disciplinary team. Access our employers guide to podiatry and find out how to attract, recruit and retain podiatrists.

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Recruiting from your community

Recruiting from your community can help with your workforce supply challenges. Find out who may be missing from your workforce by using our digital tool, and read our resources to see how you can engage with and recruit from groups in your local area.


Electronic Staff Record

The Electronic Staff Record (ESR) is the national workforce data system used across the NHS in England. It can be used as a tool to help you analyse and plan the shape of your workforce.

Related News

HEE statement on training recovery

Health Education England (HEE) has announced a statement on its ongoing work to support training recovery as an urgent priority.

View article

New nursing workforce standards launched

The Royal College of Nursing has launched new nursing workforce standards that set out expectations for safe and effective staffing across the UK.

View article

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