CF with the NHS National Workforce Recovery Programme

People and Leadership

Workforce is the driving force behind the NHS. For the NHS to survive it needs to have robust workforce plans in place to ensure it has enough staff, with the right skillset, in the right places. This workforce must be able to undertake the volume of healthcare activity required to recover from the backlog in planned appointments and procedures as well as a loss of productivity across all aspects of the service, as well as meet the ambitions set out in the Long Term Plan. This is a significant challenge.

Carnall Farrar (CF) provided NHSE, for the first time ever, with a national view of how many doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff they will need for the next five years, and whether they will have enough supply to meet those demands. These outputs formed a key component of funding discussions between the NSHE Executive and the government.

This needed to be done at an unprecedented pace. Over a 6 week period CF;

  • Engaged with leaders from major NHS initiatives to help understand impact of their programmes on the workforce over the next five years
  • Analysed the size of the workforce required to address the backlog in planned procedures
  • Worked with Health Education England to understand the expected supply of healthcare workers over the next five years
  • Built a complex workforce analysis which produced the workforce reports for multiple scenarios used at the highest level within NHSE.

To achieve this required true partnership working in an already existing programme. CF embodied agile working, with daily client stand-ups, responding to changing priorities, and turning around rapid analysis for review and feedback. Workforce is one of the hottest topics for NHS leadership, and the outputs and analysis were discussed at the highest level internally in the NHS, as well as within the DHSC and the Cabinet Office. This meant that CF needed to be highly responsive, running new scenarios on a daily basis to provide the information needed at a senior level at short notice.

Their approach and quality of outputs established CF as a trusted adviser to NHSE, and they were commissioned to take the analysis to the next level of granularity, bringing their technical skills and clinical expertise to do a detailed analysis of the medical specialties which will be the biggest constraint to the NHS recovery programme and needs leadership focus.

Ultimately, the work performed by CF allowed NHSE to set out the scale of the workforce challenge it was facing to the DHSC, highlighted the important of a robust workforce strategy, and what could be done with a proper strategy and data. This has influenced how the NHSE executive think about workforce strategy, and was a key component in the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, recently commissioning the NHS to develop a new long-term workforce strategy. This will be the first proper workforce strategy in the NHS for nearly 20 years, therefore showing the magnitude and breadth of change in mindset to workforce planning.

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