Strategic planning

Dr, Nurse and worker

Workforce planning: why and how? 

We face a set of challenges around how we overcome some long-standing workforce supply issues and deliver health and social care differently within our communities for the future. Alongside the introduction of policies designed to increase the skills base within the UK, such as the apprenticeship levy and immigration skills charge, the political context around managing and reducing migration has intensified. This leads us to consider what can be done differently to enhance and extend local attraction and retention activity?
There will be various components to your workforce supply strategy. We know that many employers have already prioritised the work they undertake within their local community to:
  • improve access to employment for new talent
  • retain existing talent by improving staff experience.
Download our briefing workforce supply – attracting and retaining local talent for a description of the various elements that contribute to a sustainable workforce supply strategy and examples and signposts to help encourage reflection, discussion and action.

Domestic and international workforce strategies

Employers are thinking creatively about how they can 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 consider the implications of these changes, and 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 recruitmentretention 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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