Health and social care workforce planning and development – an overview

Hurst, Keith and Kelley-Patterson, Deirdre ORCID: (2014) Health and social care workforce planning and development – an overview. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 27 (7). pp. 562-572. ISSN 0952-6862

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- The purpose of this paper is to discuss the issues relating to getting the right health and social care staff with the right skills in the right place at the right time and at the right price.


- Key points arising from several master-classes with health and social care managers, supported by a literature review, generated remarkable insights into health and social care workforce planning and development (WP & D).


- Flawed methods and overwhelming data are major barriers to health and social care WP & D. Inefficient and ineffective WP & D policy and practice, therefore, may lead to inappropriate care teams, which in turn lead to sub-optimal and costly health and social care. Increasing health and social care demand and service re-design, as the population grows and ages, and services move from hospital to community, means that workforce planners face several challenges. Issues that drive and restrain their health and social care WP & D efforts are lucid and compelling, which leave planners in no doubt what is expected if they are to succeed and health and social care is to develop. One main barrier they face is that although WP & D definitions and models in the literature are logical, clear and effective, they are imperfect, so planners do not always have comprehensive tools or data to help them determine the ideal workforce. They face other barriers. First, WP & D can be fragmented and uni-disciplinary when modern health and social care is integrating. Second, recruitment and retention problems can easily stymie planners' best endeavours because the people that services need (i.e. staff with the right skills), even if they exist, are not evenly distributed throughout the country.

Practical implications

- This paper underlines triangulated workforce demand and supply methods (described in the paper), which help planners to equalise workloads among disparate groups and isolated practitioners - an important job satisfaction and staff retention issue. Regular and systematic workforce reviews help planners to justify their staffing establishments; it seems vital, therefore, that they have robust methods and supporting data at their fingertips.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1108/IJHCQA-05-2014-0062
Additional Information: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2014
Keywords: Service quality, Health and social care, Workforce planning and development
Subjects: Medicine and health
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 16:58
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:43


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