The NHS and social care workforce

Adequate funding and a strategic, long-term approach to planning are needed to ensure a sufficient and skilled workforce


The UK has an ageing population with more complex health needs. This means the NHS needs to provide more health care, and therefore employ enough people, in the right roles, working as effectively as possible.

Our research and analysis of the issues around workforce aim to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.

Closing the gap

Research report
March 2019

The report follows the three organisations’ analysis last year assessing the scale of the problem, which warned that staffing shortages could top 250,000 without urgent action. It comes ahead of the W...

Labour market change and the international mobility of health workers

Working paper
March 2019

This working paper explores the migration and mobility of health workers. It summarises the international health care labour market, and discussess policy options to respond to a growing need for heal...

The health care workforce in England

November 2018

This joint briefing highlights the scale of workforce challenges facing the health service and the threat this poses to the delivery and quality of care.

Rising pressure: The NHS workforce challenge

Research report
October 2017

This report analyses the profile and trends of the NHS workforce. It also focuses on two pressure points: the impact of the removal of the NHS bursary on student nurse numbers, and staff retention.

Election briefing: A sustainable workforce

May 2017

The third and final Health Foundation briefing ahead of the 2017 General Election considers the steps that might be needed to make sure the NHS and social care in England have enough of the right peop...

In short supply: Pay policy and nurse numbers

Research report
April 2017

This report examines the current position with regard to two of the most important issues in workforce policy: nurse numbers and staffing standards; and pay policy. These pose both immediate and long-...

Staffing matters; funding counts

Research report
July 2016

This report examines the profile and features of the NHS workforce in England, including; health labour market trends; relevant international data and comparisons from other countries; and a series of...

Fit for purpose?

March 2016

This report gives an overview of the components of workforce policy in the English NHS and the bodies which shape it. The report proposes ways in which workforce policy could be strengthened to improv...

Improving patient flow

Learning report
April 2013

This learning report describes the work undertaken by two NHS trusts as part of the Health Foundation’s Flow Cost Quality programme.

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