As per a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the National Health Service — the publicly funded health care system in England — has rolled out a 15-year workforce plan which aims to grow the workforce 3.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent annually. That means, from the present 1.5 million strong NHS workforce, the strength will go up to at least 2.3 million by 2036-37, if all goes according to the plan.
If these figures are met, then almost half of the public-sector professionals in England will be working for the NHS, that means, nine per cent of all the workers in the country.
This means expansion is expected to be really fast paced, given that only 38 per cent of public- sector employees worked for the NHS in 2021-22, and 29 per cent in 2009-10. In 2021-22, only about six per cent of all workers worked for the NHS.
The plan is looking at increasing the number of nursing training units by 80 per cent in the next eight years. The number of student nurses being trained will also be increased via apprenticeships from the present nine per cent to about 28% over the same period.
While expansion sounds very positive and encouraging, experts feel that the NHS has yet to factor in the investment required to attract talent. Wages will have to be increased to match or exceed wage growth in the rest of the economy if talent is to be drawn towards the NHS. More money will have to be pumped into the equipment, infrastructure, medicines and other non-HR elements. The budget required by the NHS will have to increase by about 3.6 per cent per year in the next 13 years if the plan has to work. That means, about 50 million pounds!