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Health Education England reveals plan to deliver 80,000 additional NHS staff

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More than 80,000 additional healthcare staff will be trained to work in the NHS over the next five years Health Education England has revealed.

In its third national workforce plan, published yesterday, the national education and training body set out the growth in supply of staff to the NHS by 2020 including almost a 15% growth in both nurses and doctors by the end of the current parliament.

“Health Education England recognises the key risk represented by current shortages”

Workforce plan

For the third consecutive year, the numbers of adult nurses being trained will increase. Next year the numbers of places will grow by 257, or 1.8% compared to 2015.

This follows previous growth in adult nurse training places at universities with an overall increase since 2013 of 15% for adult nurses largely as a response to increased demand from NHS hospitals in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry.

By 2020 HEE is predicting an overall 10% increase in the supply of adult nurses available to work in the NHS, delivering an extra 21,133 qualified nurses.

Across all four branches of nursing, including mental health, children and learning disabilities, the numbers of available nurses will increase by 15% or 46, 952 by 2020.

The supply of medical consultants is expected to grow by more than 14% producing an extra 6,039 doctors, while the numbers of GPs will grow 5,381 or 14.6%.

Allied health professions, which include roles such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists, will increase by 31%delivering an additional 23,713 staff to work in the NHS.

For 2016 workforce groups seeing an increase in training places include:

  • Adult nurses – an increase of 257 or 1.8% to a total of 14,417
  • Mental health nurses – a rise of 100 to a total of 3,342 or 3.1%
  • Paramedics – an increase of 605, or 53% to a total of 1,729
  • Physician associates – a rise of 221% or 452 to a total of 657

Overall medical specialty training has been held flat with small increases of less than 1% in emergency medicine, general practice and clinical radiology.

Health Education England’s national workforce plan for 2016 is based on local demand estimates by NHS providers and commissioners as well as expected levels of retirement and workforce turnover and demand from the independent sectors.

The national workforce plan also warned that a focus on retention of existing staff was also crucial to maintaining sufficient NHS workforce levels.

It said: “Proposed training levels will provide for over 70,000 growth in nurses, midwives, AHPs, and scientists over the next five years, as well as over 10,000 consultants and GPs.

“HEE recognises the key risk represented by current shortages and also recognises key service priorities such as cancer mean some workforce groups need to grow as quickly as possible,” it said.

“We have therefore made a small number of commissioning increases which have been offset in part by small reductions to professions where supply is more secure,” it added.

“These actions along with the decisions in HEE’s previous two workforce plans, can provide the basis for secure future supply, however the performance of the system in valuing and keeping its existing staff is of equal importance,” said the plan.

Overall the investments made in 2016 will cost HEE an additional £70m which it will need to find in savings from elsewhere in its £5bn budget following the flat cash settlement it will receive during the next five years.

From 2017 HEE will no longer be expected to commission training places for nurses and allied health professionals after chancellor George Osborne announced plans to scrap the current NHS bursary system which he described as a “self-defeating” cap on training places.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Why isn't anyone trying to stop experienced nurse leaving the NHS which must surely contribute to the shortages?

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  • Blah, blah. Blah and still they leave. What is management and leadership when there are no staff? - the irony of Jeremy Hunt American privatisation, associate nurses & conveyor belt approach when there are a lack of nurses in the first place.

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  • Do these figures really add up. An additional 16,000 a year against a workforce of 1.3M, a 2% retirement attrition (i.e. everybody works for 50 years) general leavers and a 2-3% growth in demand? Furthermore do they really know what the turnover losses will be with the continuation of the 1% pay cap and what effects on new applicants of the ending of the bursary scheme. Does anyone else need a bucket of salt to take with HEE claims?

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