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NHS Long Term Workforce Plan

Thursday, 29 June 2023 Mind

The first ever Long Term Workforce Plan by the NHS has been published today

The plan sets out how the NHS will address existing vacancies and meet the challenges of a growing and ageing population by recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands more staff over 15 years and working in new ways.

The Long Term Workforce Plan aims to: 

  • Double medical school training places to 15,000 by 2031, with more places in areas with the greatest shortages

  • Increase the number of GP training places by 50% to 6,000 by 2031

  • Almost double the number of adult nurse training places by 2031, with 24,000 more nurse and midwife training places a year by 2031.

The UK Government has committed more than £2.4 billion to fund additional education and training places over five years on top of existing funding commitments.

Vicki Nash, Associate Director of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs at Mind said:

"Tackling the gulf between the level of need and the NHS’ ability to deliver quality care depends on the capacity and skill set of the workforce. It is encouraging that this plan sets out a long term commitment to expand the mental health workforce. The support of an understanding, empathetic clinician can make all the difference to people’s lives so a focus on embedding the right culture and diversifying the workforce are important steps to improving overall levels of care.

“It is encouraging to see a continued focus on moving towards a community-based model of mental health care. Growing the number of the types of roles and teams that are often provided by the voluntary sector will help to move to a model of care that supports people’s wider needs.

“We are pleased to see a recognition of the importance of recruiting and supporting a diverse workforce and combating racial discrimination. Increasing access to mental health roles through apprenticeships is a step in the right direction. Creating a workforce that reflects the communities they serve is key to tackling the stigma and racial inequalities that are embedded in the mental health system.

“The NHS workforce must also be supported to look after their own mental health to be able to care for others. This plan recognises that mental health is the biggest cause of staff sickness and we must see a concerted effort by national bodies and ICSs to provide better care for their staff, so that they can give their best to others.

“We must also see the ambition for the NHS workforce matched by investment in other services, including in social care, so people with mental health problems can get the right support from every part of the system. The UK Government and NHS England must also agree on what it really means to give mental and physical health equal prominence, or 'parity of esteem', which would allow us to understand what else is needed in the workforce to close the treatment gap.”

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