NHS workforce plan in danger from applicant shortfall

A Health Foundation analysis shows that the NHS workforce plan risks being derailed by difficulties in finding enough applicants and a shrinking number of staff to teach them.

A new analysis seen by the Observer reveals the sheer scale of the proposed increase in NHS staff implied by the government’s long-awaited workforce plan, unveiled at the start of the summer and given a broad welcome across the NHS.

The proportion of first-year higher education students in England training to be NHS clinical professionals would need to increase by 50% according to said the Health Foundation thinktank.

Such students represent one in nine of all first years at university, but that number would need to rise to one in six by 2031-32 – increasing from 76,300 to 125,700 places.

The new analysis states that it will require a massive and rapid increase in applicants, housing, training staff and training placements to accommodate them all. However, it notes that the number of 18 to 24 year olds is also projected to grow, which should help boost recruitment.

Full story in The Observer, 13 August 2023