The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP) aims to deliver the biggest increase in training numbers in the NHS’s 75-year history, to address gaps in the current workforce and meet the challenge of a growing and ageing population.
There is recognition however, that increasing recruitment alone will not be enough so, the Plan sets out how we will retain more staff and use technology and innovation to enable them to spend more time doing what they do best – caring for patients.
The LTWP sets out projections for key workforce groups and professions and focuses on three priority areas for action to ensure the NHS has the workforce it needs for the future: Train, Retain and Reform.
Grow the workforce: Expanding domestic education, training & recruitment will mean more healthcare professionals will be working in the NHS.
Embed the right culture and improve retention: Improving culture, leadership and wellbeing will ensure up to 130,000 fewer staff leave the NHS over the next 15 years.
Working and training differently: New roles within the multidisciplinary team and digital innovations will enhance service delivery, allowing staff to allocate more time to patients.
Integrated Care Systems (ICS) will play a critical role in delivering and embedding the LTWP, highlighting the importance of an adaptable approach in planning over the long term, and regular review of the Plan throughout its 15 year lifetime in response to changing needs. It recommends action at all levels of the NHS. The government has promised significant funding to support this work and we hope to get more detail about that soon.
Publication of the LTWP marks the beginning of an ongoing programme to integrate workforce planning with service, clinical, and financial strategies, aiming for long-term responsiveness to changes in demand and services. Actions are recommended for systems to ensure regional plans are aligned with the ‘one workforce’ outcomes identified in the national Plan to improve staff experience.
Systems will determine their approach based on local needs and opportunities, working closely with partner providers across health, care and local communities. Following extensive consultation with local partners, the SE London ICS published its People Strategy in Spring 2023. When the national Plan was published, we were pleased to see that our strategy aligned with it well, but since then we have been working to identify any potential gaps and developing plans for addressing those. This initial work has now been completed and you can read our latest update here