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Government publishes long-awaited NHS Long Term Workforce Plan

In a historic day for the health service, the long-awaited NHS Long Term Workforce Plan has finally been published as the government highlights staff training, refining recruitment and retention policies, and harnessing the power of technology as arbiters of the future.

The government has chosen to lead with training more staff, retaining existing staff and reforming the way in which they work as the headlines for its plan.

More than £2.4bn will be set aside of the next five years to fund the government’s 15-year plan as it sets about how to tackle the predicted 360,000 staff-wide workforce gap that has been predicted to swell by 2037, if no action is taken.

In terms of training, the government has put a 2031 deadline on its commitments, pledging to double the number of medical school training places – with a particular focus on areas with the greatest need.

A 50% increase in the number of GP training places alongside 24,000 more nursing and midwifery training slots, as well as 40% increase in dental training have also been pledged.

Revamping the NHS pension scheme via new retirement flexibilities, supporting continued professional development, occupational health services for staff, and extra childcare have all been put forward as the key ways of retaining staff.

The government believes these measures will lead to 130,000 staff staying in the NHS.

Modernising and reforming working practices is the third pillar of the government's plan.

Freeing up clinical time with new associate training roles for nurses, physicians and anaesthetists has been outlined, with expanding advanced clinical consultant roles and increasing degree-apprenticeships also mentioned.

The government also wants to expedite the time between the classroom and the clinic, as well as harnessing the power of technology, most notably artificial intelligence and remote monitoring, to free up clinical time.

The government hope its measures can contribute to reducing agency spend, with estimates falling at a £10bn saving for the taxpayer between 2030/31 and 2036/37.

Read the full workforce plan here.

Image credit: iStock

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