Latest Public Sector News


Massive staff shortages predicted for NHS and social care

Demand for staff will far outstrip availability in the next few years for both the NHS and social care, warns a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

According to the report, Skills and Performance Challenges in Health and Social Care, progression bottlenecks could limit the supply of workers with the right skills while demand grows in health and social care services.

It says over two million more workers will need to be trained and recruited by 2022.

Of the 2.1 million workers estimated to be needed in the sector between 2012 and 2022, 1.4 million (67%) were needed to replace those leaving existing roles.

But despite this need, UKCES findings show a poor prognosis for skills in health and social care, with employees finding limited opportunities to progress to higher level roles, and many younger workers leaving the sector as a result.

The research also shows a larger than average proportion of those working in the sector are aged between 50 to 64, further stressing the need for new talent as a large cohort of the existing workforce is set to retire in the years ahead.

Vicki Belt, assistant director at UKCES said: “With medical advancements leading us to live longer, more active lives, the knock on effect is a sharp rise in the need for those who keep us in good health in our later years.

“These findings demonstrate the dramatic extent of this need – health and social care is already the largest sector in the UK, yet to meet the rising need for care we will need to see a 50% increase in the number of people working in these fields.

“However, the problem goes beyond just a need to recruit. Employers must do more to create attractive career pathways through which people can progress, as well as develop training routes which can apply to roles in both health and social care - opening access to all areas the sector.”

The report also highlights the changing face of work in the sector, with future care needs set to revolve around enabling patients to support themselves and live independently.

An increasing shift towards patients managing their own care, and more care taking place in the home, is also creating a rising focus on preventative treatments, greater use of technology and a need for more autonomous, remote working from the existing workforce.

In order to tackle these challenges the report calls on employers to create more training opportunities and intermediary roles, increasing options for progression, as well as develop dual training routes – allowing individuals to progress careers in both health and social care without the need to retrain.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Brianc   01/06/2015 at 13:38

With much of the Health and Social work being moved into the Third Sector, where wages, terms and conditions are being squeezed to the max, it is no wonder that those who would like to work in this field find that they are unable to live on the salaries offered, so will not even consider entering the sector. This is especially true in Aberdeen, where the Oil and Gas Industry are paying massively higher salaries, and house and cost of living expenses are so high.

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >