The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath has underlined the need to ensure sufficient qualified health and care professionals and support them when they are in the workforce. However, we know recruitment and retention of these professionals are both challenging, given it takes nurses, doctors, and other health professionals typically many years to travel fully through the education pipeline. This makes sudden increases in workforce demand difficult to mitigate, as workers are difficult to replace, with few levers available for rapid recovery.
There is also an inherent tension between the need that politics and finance often act on short timescales, and the reality that systemic workforce planning requires a far greater amount of time for changes to embed. We also have to strike a balance between expediting training and entry into the workforce, without compromising either quality or patient safety.
The third seminar of the series will explore a range of workforce planning issues, including short- and long-term drivers of demand and supply of key workers, the range of policy levers at ones disposal, the importance of sustainable planning (in balancing different planning and time horizons, the mix between different professions and geographies, and professional scope and licence to practice), and strategies to plan for these key professions.