The NHS staffing crisis is about the expanding knowledge gap – Alison Leary

Alison Leary, professor of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, writes about the current workforce crisis in the NHS, noting that it is not just about numbers, but about the loss of skills and expertise:

“When we talk about workforce, the focus is always on numbers. There are campaigns for safe staffing ratios and government ministers like to tell us how many more nurses we have.

But safety is not just about numbers. Recent workforce policy decisions have promoted a more-hands-for-less-money approach to staffing in healthcare. More lower-paid workers mean something in the equation has to give. In this case, it’s skill and expertise.Healthcare has failed to keep frontline expertise in clinical areas due to archaic attitudes to the value of the experienced workforce. I am often told by nurses that to be promoted, they have to go into management – but their skills and experience remain unrewarded. This is very different to other safety critical industries where such skill is more readily remunerated and staying at the frontline more readily accepted.”

Full article in The Independent, 16 December 2019