Key points

  • The Health Foundation's REAL Centre commissioned Decision Analysis Services Ltd (DAS) to produce a model that can be used to develop supply projections of the nursing workforce with a time horizon of 10 to 20 years.

  • This working paper describes the progress to date, setting out the collaborative approach, the key activities that have been undertaken so far, a description of the model and next steps in the development.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, workforce issues were identified as the single biggest challenge for health and social care in England. These issues have taken centre stage during the pandemic, with workforce shortages coming to the fore. Nursing has long been the most significant NHS shortage area and accounted for 45% of full-time equivalent vacancies in the NHS in England in June 2020.

Against this backdrop, the Health Foundation's REAL Centre commissioned Decision Analysis Services Ltd (DAS) to develop a comprehensive model of nurse supply. The model will provide projections of the future nursing workforce supply in England under alternative policy scenarios over a 10 to 20 year time frame.

This working paper describes the progress to date. It sets out: 

  • the collaborative approach being adopted by DAS and the REAL Centre 
  • details about some of the key activities that have been undertaken since the project began 
  • a detailed description of the model that is currently under development, including a description of the simulation engine, the data visualisation tool and how it is anticipated that the model will be used 
  • next steps in the development of the nurse supply model. 

A comprehensive model of nurse supply is needed now more than ever. This will be a vital contribution to the evidence base and the wider debate on this key workforce issue.

Cite this publication

Cave S, Woodham E, Exelby D, Derbyshire K, Wildblood R and Shembavnekar N. Nurse supply model: progress so far. 2020.

Further reading

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Nurse supply model

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