NHS workforce strategy fails to address staffing needs in the community – QNI

Workforce plan requires ‘sharper focus on education of community and primary care nurses’
two reports

Workforce plan requires ‘sharper focus on education of community and primary care nurses’

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has criticised draft proposals for an NHS workforce strategy, claiming they do not address the extent of current and projected staff shortages in community and primary care nursing.

Health Education England (HEE) has been consulting on the first workforce strategy for England in almost 25 years. Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, a draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027, looks at the existing gap between workforce demand and supply and proposes a range of solutions.

The document discusses recruitment and retention in the nurse workforce including a national recruitment campaign, the development of flexible routes into nursing and a comprehensive career framework.

‘Draft does not reflect ambition of NHS Five Year Forward View’

HEE chief executive Ian Cumming said there needs to be a ‘major shift in the ways we plan in order to make sure we can meet the health needs of the country’s population’.

However, the QNI warns that the NHS Five Year Forward View ‘has at its heart the ambition to move more care closer to the community’, but said it did not believe this ambition is adequately reflected in the HEE draft.

The QNI states any workforce plan should clearly acknowledge:

  • Current and increasing shortages in community nursing, with specific actions to address these.
  • Effects of changing skills mix in community teams, and the balance of registered and unregistered staff.
  • Service integration in response to patient need.
  • Need for investment in primary care services, particularly general practice nurses.
  • An assessment of CPD funding needs for post-registration nurses.
  • Need for community nurse leadership.

QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman said: 'A greater focus is required on supporting education and training for the registered nurses who provide increasingly complex care in people's homes and communities.

'These high-value, nurse-led services are the practical, patient-centred and economic key to supporting the health of the most vulnerable people in our society.'

The final HEE workforce strategy is expected to be published in July.

In other news