Key points

  • The workforce challenges in the NHS in England now present a greater threat to health services than the funding challenges.
  • Across NHS trusts there is a shortage of more than 100,000 staff and we project that the gap between staff needed and the number available could reach almost 250,000 by 2030. 
  • Current workforce shortages are taking a significant toll on the health and wellbeing of staff. 
  • If staff shortages continue, they could lead to growing waiting lists, deteriorating care quality and the risk that some of the £20.5bn secured for NHS front-line services will go unspent.

In advance of the publication of the NHS long-term plan, the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust have developed this joint briefing which highlights the scale of workforce challenges now facing the health service and the threat this poses to the delivery and quality of care over the next 10 years.

The briefing sets out the reasons why the long-term plan and supporting workforce strategy must address the urgent and mounting challenges facing the health care workforce.

This will be followed in the coming weeks by a more in-depth report that explores five key levers available nationally and locally that could help ameliorate the workforce crisis affecting both health and social care.

Further reading

Press release

Staffing shortfall of almost 250,000 by 2030 is major risk to NHS long term plan

15 November 2018

Critical and lasting shortages in the health care workforce mean that the forthcoming NHS Long Term...

Research report

Closing the gap

March 2019

Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. This report sets out a series of policy...

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