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Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future: A draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027

The NHS is one of our country’s finest achievements. As outlined in the NHS Constitution it belongs to, and is a source of pride to, the people.

The public health staff in local authorities, those in the voluntary or independent sector providing NHS care and those in hospitals, GP surgeries and our communities as well as colleagues in social care. Social care and health together make up the largest workforce in the country, by comprising 13% of all jobs, yet we have not had a national strategy for recruiting, training and supporting them for over two decades.

That will change next year. This consultation document will lead to a workforce strategy for the health service to be published in July 2018. This document informs a conversation about what staff need; about what staff the health service needs, and how we shape the future we all want: a sustainable, free, universal healthcare system.

Production of this document was led and co-ordinated by Health Education England but it is a product of the whole national system including NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, and the Department of Health.

In this document we outline why we need a workforce strategy, before detailing the 2017 workforce and how it has changed over the last five years. Workforce growth comes from three main areas: output from education and training, retaining our current workforce, and recruitment of trained workforce from elsewhere. We describe actions to grow capacity and capability to move towards self-sustainability in our workforce and build the NHS’s global reputation as a centre of excellence in healthcare education and training.

We then extend our lens to 2027, recognising that education and training and workforce reform takes time we look at how new technology, prevention and flexibility are required to meet the service’s workforce requirements a decade away.

We conclude by discussing the future for each of our workforce groups, using a focus on professions to analyse need and set out actions.

Please take the time to read this document and respond to the consultation to ensure that the final strategy is a comprehensive product of the whole system.