Intended for healthcare professionals


A preliminary workforce plan for the NHS

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 11 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4144
  1. Nigel Edwards, chief executive1,
  2. Billy Palmer, senior fellow1
  1. 1Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: N Edwards nigel.edwards{at}

Useful in parts, but long overdue

After some years of being eclipsed by concerns about money and targets, the growing and serious problem with the NHS workforce has finally hit home. The result is an interim plan1 to tackle some of the most pressing problems and deal with some of the shortcomings in workforce planning arrangements. The plan signals a more substantial document to come, and therefore lacks some detail, but is a generally useful if aspirational publication.

Recognising there will be a wait for the envisaged new staff to come through, the plan focuses on retaining current staff and ensuring that staff who do train remain with the NHS. So it has quite a lot to say about the NHS as a place to work, and how to improve culture and leadership. Although these are encouraging words, this issue has been a recurring theme. The test will be whether the style of top-down performance management that has contributed to …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription