Upskill and reskill – could that be the answer to the NHS recruitment crisis?

19th July 2023

The skills shortage touches every sector of the UK economy. In the NHS alone there are 110,000 vacancies – meaning 1 in 10 of posts are not filled.  Every employer facing a shortage of staff needs a plan and the government has unveiled its proposals (see link), which include plans to halve the number of medics recruited from abroad. The 15-year workforce plan also sets out ambitions for more training and university places, as well as shorter medical degrees, in order to plug staff shortages and reduce reliance on overseas workers and agency staff.  The plan is being described as £2.4bn investment in the NHS over the next 5 years and labelled by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as the “most ambitious transformation in the way we staff the NHS in its history.”

Along with upskilling and reskilling, creating a truly competitive employment proposition is one of the keys to addressing the skills gap. With no end in sight to the current industrial action in the NHS, we may well see more NHS staff leaving, exacerbating the current shortages.

Alongside the government plan to reduce the numbers of overseas staff in the NHS , a group of Tory MPs (the ‘New Conservatives’) has been calling for a cut to net migration (see link).  The New Conservatives’ ideas include the proposed closure of the Health and Care Worker visa route and removal of care worker roles from the shortage occupation list, both introduced to make it easier for employers to recruit care workers and fill the skills gaps in the care sector.  Given how closely linked are the functions of the care sector and the NHS, any contraction of the workforce in the care sector may also be likely to have a significant impact on the operations of the NHS itself.

These challenges are exactly the focus of our recently launched insight report: Tackling the UK Skills Shortage – what, why and how.

If your workforce is changing then you need to change with it – found out how, here.