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Horizon 2035: Health and care workforce futures

The NHS reached its 65th anniversary in 2013 and our health and care system is arguably facing its most testing period yet. In Big Picture challenges: the context, the CfWI Horizon Scanning team outlined the most significant themes shaping this system (CfWI 2013).

In order to prepare for these long-term challenges, we collectively need to think beyond typical planning cycles. An increasing number of health and care planning initiatives, such as the Dilnot Commission on Funding Care and Support and NHS England’s ‘Call to Action’ (NHS England 2013), have started to address this longer-term view.

These initiatives, however, do not specifically consider the demand and supply of the healthcare, social care and public health workforce together and this is where the Horizon 2035 programme plays a part.

When it comes to trying to balance the demand and supply for skills in health and care, the stakes are high. For example, by 2025 the number of social care jobs needed to meet demand is projected to grow by up to one million (Skills for Care 2013), while in Shape of the Medical Workforce we reported that under
‘business as usual’ conditions, there would be a 60% increase in hospital consultants by 2020, possibly exceeding demand (CfWI 2012).

Horizon 2035 considers how challenges across health and care may unfold over the next 20-years in terms of demand and supply of skills, and what actions can be taken now to be ready for these challenges ahead.