See the latest information and briefing on workforce planning in the Health and Care Bill.
The Royal College of Physicians, alongside the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, NHS Providers, NHS Confederation, Macmillan Cancer Support and others, has signed a briefing proposing an amendment to the Health and Care Bill that would strengthen workforce planning.
Ahead of the first hearing of the Health and Care Bill Public Bill Committee (7 September 2021), health and care organisations have issued a joint briefing to Minister for Health Ed Argar and other MPs about a proposed amendment to Clause 33 of the Health and Care Bill.
Clause 33 currently sets out a new duty for the Secretary of State to publish a report once a parliament ‘describing the system in place for assessing and meeting the workforce needs of the health service in England’. While this new legal duty will bring clarity on the process of workforce planning, it falls short of what is needed given the scale of the challenge facing the health and care system.
Clause 33 as it currently stands means the system still will not know whether it is training and retaining enough people to deliver health and care services now and in the future.
Today’s briefing signed by the RCP and other organisations proposes an amendment to Clause 33, so that every two years the Secretary of State must also publish independently verified assessments of current and future workforce numbers consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) long-term fiscal projections.
What is the proposed amendment?
Clause 33 - Report on assessing and meeting workforce needs
“After section 1G of the National Health Service Act 2006 (but before the italic heading after it) insert—
1GA Secretary of State’s duty to report on workforce systems
The Secretary of State must, at least once every two years, lay a report to parliament describing the system in place for assessing and meeting the workforce needs of the health, social care and public health services in England.
This report must include
an independently verified assessment of health, social care and public health workforce numbers, current at the time of report publication and the projected supply for the following 5, 10 and 20 years
an independently verified assessment of future health, social care and public health workforce numbers based on the projected health and care needs of the population for the following 5, 10 and 20 years, consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility long-term fiscal projections
NHS England and Health Education England must assist in the preparation of a report under this section.
The organisations listed in subsection (3) must consult with health and care employers, providers, trade unions, royal colleges, and any other persons deemed necessary for the preparation of this report, taking full account of workforce intelligence, evidence and plans from local organisations and partners within integrated care boards.”
This amendment would require published assessments every 2 years of the workforce numbers required to deliver the work that the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates will be carried out in future, based on projected demographic changes, the growing prevalence of certain health conditions and likely impact of technology.
How would this amendment work?
The OBR predicts likely healthcare spending by projecting likely healthcare activity, considering demographic changes and other factors such as the changing cost of healthcare, the impact of technology and the rising prevalence of certain health conditions. The proposed amendment asks for published assessments of the future health and care staff numbers required to be based on those OBR projections and the assumptions tied up in them. It is a way to ensure that we have the staff numbers required to deliver the work that the OBR estimates we will need to carry out in future.
Projections of this kind should inform local and regional training and recruitment needs. They should also underpin a long-term workforce implementation strategy that sets out how we can improve recruitment and retention to meet the number of health and care professionals we need.
Why do we need this amendment?
Workforce is a key limiting factor in delivering high quality integrated care. Regular, independent and public workforce projection data will not solve the NHS workforce crisis. But it will give us the best foundations to take long-term decisions about funding, workforce planning, regional shortages and the skill mix needed to help the system keep up with patient need. The bill is a vital opportunity to establish greater accountability and transparency on workforce planning to ensure we can meet patient demand now and in future.
The Royal College of Physicians will be working with others in the health and care sector to raise the issue of workforce planning throughout the passage of the Health and Care Bill through parliament.
This amendment is supported by:
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
- Age UK
- Alzheimer’s Society
- Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland
- Association of British Clinical Diabetologists
- Association of British Neurologists
- Association of Cancer Physicians
- Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation
- Blood Cancer UK
- Bowel Cancer UK
- Brain Tumour Charity
- Brain Tumour Research
- Brain's Trust
- Breast Cancer Now
- British and Irish Association of Stroke Physicians
- British Association of Dermatologists
- British Association of Sexual Health & HIV
- British Cardiovascular Society
- British Heart Foundation
- British Medical Association (BMA)
- British Nuclear Medicine Society
- British Pharmacological Society
- British Society for Haematology
- British Society for Rheumatology
- British Thoracic Society
- Cancer Awareness for Teens & Twenties
- Cancer Black Care
- Cancer Research UK
- Centre for Mental Health
- Children with Cancer UK
- Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group
- Clinical Genetics Society
- CLL Support
- Crohn's & Colitis UK
- Diabetes UK
- Faculty of Dental Surgery
- Faculty of Physician Associates
- Faculty of Public Health
- Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare
- Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine
- Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust
- Health Foundation
- Independent Age
- Intensive Care Society
- Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
- Kidney Cancer Support Network
- Kidney Cancer UK
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Medical Schools Council
- Mental Health Foundation
- Mesothelioma UK
- Myeloma UK
- National Voices
- NHS Confederation
- NHS Providers
- Nuffield Trust
- One Cancer Voice
- Ovarian Cancer Action
- Pancreatic Cancer UK
- Parkinson's UK
- Prostate Cancer UK
- Rethink Mental Illness
- Royal College of Anaesthetists
- Royal College of Emergency Medicine
- Royal College of General Practitioners
- Royal College of Midwifery
- Royal College of Nursing
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Royal College of Ophthalmologists
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Royal College of Pathologists
- Royal College of Physicians
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh
- Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
- Royal College of Surgeons in England
- Sarcoma UK
- Society for Acute Medicine
- Society for Endocrinology
- Solving Kids Cancer
- Stroke Association
- Sue Ryder
- Target Ovarian Cancer
- Teenage Cancer Trust
- The King's Fund
- The Richmond Group
- UK Kidney Association
- Young Lives vs Cancer
- Young Minds