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NHS and social care facing projected workforce gap of more than one million by 2033/34

25 February 2021

Additional evidence published today by the Health and Social Care Committee has projected a workforce gap of more than one million by 2033/34. The evidence was submitted by the Health Foundation charity to the Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care inquiry ahead of its final evidence session.

The written evidence highlights:

  • An NHS workforce gap of 115,000 fulltime equivalent posts in 2020/21 is projected to double over the next five years, exceeding 475,000 FTE staff by 2033/34.

The figures do not take account of any potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • NHS in England is likely to require workforce growth of 3.2% a year over the next 15 years in order to meet rising expectations for quality and range of care, and for services to adopt new technological advances. The projected requirement is an additional 179,000 FTE staff by 2023/24, rising to 639,000 additional FTE staff by 2033/34 in what the Health Foundation calls a ‘modernised scenario.’

In addition, the Health Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies projected that 458,000 additional FTE social care staff would be needed in England by 2033/34.

The Committee has heard evidence about the scale and impact of burnout in the NHS and social care and staff mental health during the pandemic, as well as the level and impact of bullying and harassment in the workplace. The inquiry’s final session took evidence from the Department of Health and Social Care Minister for Care, Helen Whately.

Further information

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