The King's Fund

NHS workforce planning

  • Format: Printed copy
  • Author(s): Candace Imison, James Buchan, Su Xavier
  • Publication date: 26-Nov-2009

Workforce planning for the NHS is a large undertaking. The NHS in England employs approximately 1.3 million staff, 70 per cent of recurrent NHS costs relate to staffing, and more than £4 billion is spent annually on staff training.

Securing a sufficient number of staff with the appropriate skills and deploying them effectively is a highly complex challenge, and one that is all the more important now that the NHS is about to enter one of the most financially constrained periods in its history. If it is to thrive and survive, productivity will need to make a step-change, and much of the scope for improvement lies in the workforce.

This report considers the degree to which NHS workforce planning in England is likely to support the delivery of a workforce that is fit for the future. To inform this assessment, we examine current developments at national and regional level, highlight relevant international experience, and propose ways in which planning could be made more effective.