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
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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

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