Closing the gap Key areas for action on the health and care workforce

March 2019

Jake Beech
Simon Bottery
Harry Evans
Ben Gershlick
Nina Hemmings
Candace Imison
Pinchas Kahtan
Helen McKenna
Richard Murray
Billy Palmer
Thumbnail

Key points

  • Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. Workforce shortages are already having a direct impact on patient care and staff experience.
  • Urgent action is now required to avoid a vicious cycle of growing shortages and declining quality. The workforce implementation plan to be published later this year presents a pivotal opportunity to do this.
  • This report sets out a series of policy actions that, evidence suggests, should be at the heart of the workforce implementation plan.
  • They will require investment of an extra £900 million per year by 2023/24 into the budget of Health Education England.
  • Recognising the close interrelationship between the NHS and social care, the report also recommends a series of policy changes to improve recruitment and retention in social care.

Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. This report sets out a series of policy actions that should be at the heart of the workforce implementation plan.

The full report includes the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Training: supply of new staff
  3. Pay and reward: ensuring pay policy supports recruitment and retention
  4. A good employer: making the NHS a better place to work and build a career
  5. Workforce redesign: the right teams with the right skills and technological support
  6. Supply of new staff: international recruitment
  7. Closing the gap: modelling the impact of reform and funding on nursing and GP shortages
  8. Social care: pay, recruitment and retention
  9. Next steps and conclusion
  10. Full table of recommendations

Cite this publication

Beech J, Bottery S, Charlesworth A, Evans H, Gershlick B, Hemmings N, Imison C, Kahtan P, McKenna H, Murray R, Palmer B, 'Closing the gap: key areas for action on the health and care workforce. Health Foundation; 2019

Discover

REAL Centre

Discover

The Health Foundation’s REAL Centre is here to support better long-term decision making in health...

REAL Centre

Further reading

Press release

Offer £5,200 grants to nursing students and ramp up overseas recruitment to stop NHS workforce crisis

21 March 2019
Press release

A radical expansion of nurse training, with cost of living grants of £5,200 a year and a tripling in...

Briefing

The health care workforce in England

November 2018
Briefing

This joint briefing highlights the scale of workforce challenges facing the health service and the...

You might also like...

Press release

Government needs to address long-standing underinvestment as NHS backlog grows

Press release

Health Foundation response to the publication of NHS England's monthly performance statistics.

News

The NHS Bill must put in place a system to support better workforce planning

News

Joint letter to the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP from the Health Foundation,...

Press release

The government must translate praise for NHS staff into practical support and investment to help them recover

Press release

Health Foundation response to the NHS Staff Survey 2020 and NHS England’s monthly performance...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Despite government promising to 'fix the crisis in social care once and for all', no plan to reform the sector has… https://t.co/IINgDPTJXv

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more