HEE Chief Exec calls for evidence to help shape framework on future health and social care workforce planning

The Chief Executive of Health Education England (HEE), Dr Navina Evans, has called for healthcare professionals, providers and organisations to share their views on future health and social care workforce planning.

HEE has been commissioned to review trends within the health and social care workforce to help shape the future, with the Long-Term Strategic Framework for Health and Social Care Workforce Planning due to ‘review, renew and update’ the organisation’s current Framework 15.

In a recent blog post for the NHS Confederation, Dr Evans said: “With this, we have been entrusted with something fundamental to the lives and wellbeing of so many people, many of whom haven’t even been born yet.”

“The job of the NHS has always been to think about today and tomorrow, and connecting our predictions for ‘tomorrow’ with today’s actions,” she added.

For the first time, the framework will also “include registered professionals working in social care, such as nurses and occupational therapists”.

HEE are, therefore, calling for input from both individuals and organisations, to be submitted through completion of an online survey – the Strategic Framework Call for Evidence 2021.

Dr Evans explains that the workforce planning is based around “rethinking what the service will look like, and delivering the transformation that is needed”, with a focus on six key categories: demographics and disease; public, people who need care and support, patient and carer expectations; socio-economic and environmental factors; staff and student/trainee expectations; science, digital, data and technology (including genomics); and service models and pandemic recovery. 

Highlighting plans for an evidence-based strategy, Dr Evans added that even the commissioning of a postgraduate place, nursing placement, or new role, is often built on “assumptions about a future we cannot yet know.”

She stated that, therefore: “It is vital that we gather as much evidence, from as many sources as possible, so that we can integrate this information into our planning to meet future demands across the service.  

“In 27 years’ time the NHS will celebrate its 100th birthday. Students starting their courses today will be halfway through their careers and many will be senior leaders in health and social care. At that time, I will be in my 80s and will be looked after by many people. If we have done our job well, we can expect that this workforce will be quite different to what we see now; ready to meet the future demands of the service, which will also be different to what we see now.”  

As well as asking healthcare professionals to share their opinions and knowledge through the survey, the HEE Chief Executive concluded her piece by asking readers to consider “what unique insights can you and your organisation offer to help shape our future NHS workforce? “

Read Dr Evans’ full blog piece here, or find out more about the strategic framework for workforce planning.

The call for evidence and its survey close at 23:59pm on 6 September 2021.