Quotes and extracts from Ieuan Ellis's workforce planning blog.
‘There has been a disastrous failure of workforce planning. Little if any thought has been given to long term or strategic planning. There were, and are, too few people with the ability and skills to do the task. The situation has been exacerbated by constant reorganisation…. The planning system remains poorly integrated and there is an appalling lack of coordination between workforce and financial planning…’
‘To avoid the boom and bust of recent years and produce a workforce appropriate for the future, we make one major recommendation: workforce planning must be a priority for the health service’.
NHS Workforce Planning: Limitations and Possibilities – The Kings Fund (November 2009)
The report recommends that ‘the emphasis of workforce planning should not be solely on 'new' recruits but on how the system can develop new skills for those who are already employed in the service’.
Other key recommendations include:
‘There should be greater clarity of roles and responsibilities. Roles within workforce, service and financial planning need clarity, and current overlaps and gaps should be identified and resolved’.
‘The multi professional approach to workforce planning should be strengthened and there should be better co-ordination between policy levers’.
Workforce Planning in the NHS. (Kings Fund, April 2015)
‘…while Health Education England is responsible for training the workforce of the future, it is less clear who is responsible for managing and recruiting the workforce that is needed today. While most workforce issues are, of course, best left to individual employers, where there is evidence of widespread difficulties at national level it will be difficult for any one employer to take effective action. Whether in relation to return-to-practice campaigns, international recruitment or measures to increase the attractiveness of key professional groups, there is a case for co-ordinated national leadership to ensure that best practice is easily accessible across the NHS. NHS Employers, Health Education England, NHS England and others have all taken on elements of this role, sometimes operating outside their statutory responsibilities. However, this was clearly not enough to prevent the deep recruitment difficulties we are now witnessing in general practice and nursing, among other sectors. Just as the national bodies came together in the Forward View to provide a single perspective on the changes needed, they need to provide the same leadership to address the resulting changes to the workforce.’
Fit for Purpose? Workforce Policy in the English NHS. (The Health Foundation, March 2016)
Workforce policy in England involves a complexity of institutions, including more than 40 statutory bodies working at a national level, a further 16 Royal Colleges, 18 trade unions, as well as over 100 professional and specialist institutions. This level of complexity (and sometimes obscurity) makes it a difficult policy web to untangle.
‘The solution to the workforce system’s structural problems is not to seek wholesale re-organisation, but to improve opportunistically, and to introduce better strategic coordination. We recommend the formation of a National Workforce Strategy Board to take forward this new approach’.