Too few nurses are currently moving from the acute sector into community settings to support the future shift towards more out-of-hospital care, workforce planning chiefs have warned.
They said that a “significant effort” would be required by commissioners and providers to ensure more jobs were created in the community and that they were attractive to nurses.
The education and training body Health Education England said such action was necessary to help achieve NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, which includes a series of new care delivery models that place greater emphasis on community provision.
“Unless additional action is taken, nursing in the acute sector may grow at the community’s expense”
HEE’s workforce planning team said yesterday that nurses were currently moving at a slower rate than in previous years from the acute sector into primary settings.
It predicted that at least 5,000 clinicians would be required to join the community and primary care workforce by 2020, suggesting that this required an additional 2,000 nurses per year to join the sector in order to meet future demand.
Speaking at a board meeting yesterday, Rob Smith, HEE’s head of planning and information, said: “What we do know is most people find their first placement in a hospital and we rely on people migrating later in their career into the community.
“At the moment, we don’t see that happening in the same way it has in the past,” he told the meeting.
He said that while it was not necessarily within HEE’s power to rectify the problem on its own, it would consider looking at how to equip nurses with the skills to feel confident in community roles.
“We rely on people migrating later in their career into the community”
HEE’s 2015-16 workforce plan, also unveiled yesterday, said: “Forecasting indicates that unless additional action is taken by commissioners and providers, nursing in the acute sector may grow at the community’s expense.”
Meanwhile, HEE noted there had been recent increases in hospital nurses following the Francis report, but questioned how sustainable it was if international recruits were to go home and if nurses returning to practice had shorter careers than their newly-qualified counterparts.
For these reasons, HEE said it would fund an additional 555 training places for adult nurses – which will supply both the acute and community settings – in 2015-16, a 4.2% increase from last year.
Overall, the workforce plan will see increases in nurse education places across all four nursing branches, resulting in an extra 827 qualified nurses, a rise of 4% from last year.