With the increase in demand on the NHS, and no sign of it slowing down, shortfalls in staff are becoming more apparent. With those shortfalls comes a dip in the effectiveness of care that patients require.
With over 1.3 million clinical staff, carrying out 300 different types of duties, across 1,000 different employers, the NHS requires a suitable workforce planning process, to make sure that the right amount of staff is available.
With the National Audit Office declaring that the current arrangement for managing the supply of clinical staffing is fragmented and not value for money, it is important that a solution is found, in terms of securing staff efficiently.
As well as finding the right staff, it is also important that these staff have the right skills, values and behaviours to deliver the quality of care expected of the NHS.
Information is key
At the top of the list of priorities for the NHS, is ensuring that there is enough staff to cope with demand. They have even set up a specific website, dedicated to ensuring that the employees they do have, are kept well informed of the current workforce plan.
The NHS Employers website provides a gateway for employees to fully engage in the debate about the challenges the medical workforce plan presents for the NHS.
It deals with important questions such as what sort of doctors are needed, what is the correct balance between qualified and in training staff and how does the change of local GPs roles reflect on what the rest of the health service does? These are all important factors for building and maintaining a strong and successful workforce.
In addition, the creation of Health Education England has meant that, for the first time, there is now a governing body responsible for making strategic decisions about planning the future workforce. It is now their chief priority to be proactive in ensuring that a long-term national plan is addressed to deal with variations around the country.
Providing sufficient education and training, to ensure the longevity, effectiveness and rejuvenation of the National Health Service, is definitely the key to an effective health care workforce.