A shortage in the numbers of primary care and community nurses could endanger the delivery of the services outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, a report by the King's Fund has found.
The report, Workforce planning in the NHS, identified three areas where workforce shortages could hinder the transformation of services to those detailed in the NHS Five Year Forward View: mental health, primary care, and community services. It shows that there have been falls in the number of nurses working in mental health and community. The number of senior district nurses has dropped by 30%, and mental health nursing has seen a 15% fall in workforce numbers since 2010.
Rachael Addicott, senior research fellow at The King's Fund and the report's lead author, said: 'We need the right people in the right place, able to adapt their skills to changing demographics and work together to support new models of care. However the trends we are seeing are moving in the opposite direction, with an increasing over-reliance on temporary staff and a 'black hole' in the data needed to make effective workforce plans.'
The report argues that this shortage in workforce numbers will hinder the implementation of services such as multispeciality providers. It calls for greater collaboration between service providers to address short-term workforce shortages, stronger workforce data collection, and stronger leadership from top level bodies to support the training of staff to fill gaps in the workforce.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: 'It is helpful that the new models of care – established by the Five Year Forward View – are currently being assessed for the benefit of patients. It is important that any future policies support the ability of local NHS organisations to deploy staff in the best way to support high-quality and efficient patient care.'