NHS study predicts 190,000 new healthcare staff needed in England by 2027
September 18, 2018
In the 70 years since the launch of the NHS, the health service has grown to become the largest single employer in the UK, with about 1.7 million workers.
Yet surprisingly, the NHS has never had a national strategy for recruiting, training and supporting healthcare staff.
Now that’s all about to change.
A new NHS study anticipates that the health service will require an additional 190,000 healthcare staff in England by 2027, with many of them in ‘associate’ positions.
The report, Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, has found that there are a number of reasons why the NHS needs to overhaul its recruitment of healthcare staff.
There’s an increasing number of healthcare professionals being asked to broaden the scope of work they perform, higher patient demand of the NHS, a greater call for specific areas of patient care, and there have been significant advances in research and treatment.
The study recommends a three-pronged approach to prepare the NHS for the future: attract new staff, retain and develop those who already work for the NHS, and create new roles where skill gaps are identified.
In the report, Health Education England chief executive Prof Ian Cumming praises the government’s plans to grow the number of nursing associates to 45,000 by 2027.
Nursing associates are healthcare professionals whose work falls between that of a healthcare assistant and a registered nurse.
The NHS is already seeing an increase in the number of people registering as nursing associates; its popularity being due to the clear career path from nursing associate to registered nurse.
There are also plans to grow the number of medical associate roles.
This includes surgical care practitioners, who perform some supervised surgery, as well as advanced critical-care practitioners who look after patients with life-threatening conditions.
Most of the growth in jobs predicted by the NHS study is expected to happen in the community, as demand leads to more people being treated outside of hospital.