Skip to content

This content is more than five years old


NHS and social care workforce

Meeting our needs now and in the future?


The NHS and social care workforce is the primary driver of future health and social care costs: 1.4 million people work in the NHS and a further 1.6 million in the social care sector. Together they account for 1 in 10 of the working population and around 70 per cent of expenditure for the average health and social care provider. So it's important to ensure that the workforce of today is prepared for the health and social care needs of the future.

Today's workforce is facing a number of challenges. Training and development focuses on episodic care, but the greatest demand on services comes from older people who require integrated, long-term health and social care. There is a mismatch between the location of the current workforce and where care is needed, and both the NHS and social care sector require multi-skilled staff to work across boundaries.

Our latest Perspectives paper explores these challenges and offers practical suggestions to address them.

This is the second in a series of four papers that aim to crystallise ideas for change in areas where, we believe, new thinking is required. The first paper asked whether NHS buildings were obstacles or opportunities, and subsequent papers will focus on the use of technology; and the role of patients and service users. The papers draw on ideas generated by seminars, discussions with experts and feedback from the Time to Think Differently programme.