The NHS workforce strategy in context

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There is growing evidence that demand for mental health support will increase in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to respond to this demand and deliver existing commitments to grow mental health services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, more mental health practitioners must be recruited.

This short briefing explores the recently published interim NHS workforce strategy, We are the NHS: People Plan 2020/21 - action for us all, and looks ahead to the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to discuss the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead.

The briefing discusses the significant gaps between targets for workforce expansion set by successive workforce strategies and current progress on recruitment. It highlights the need to invest in recruitment and to protect workforce wellbeing within the NHS. And it advocates for Government and local systems to look further afield at the contribution, growth and sustainability of the non-NHS workforce, especially within voluntary and community sector providers which are facing unprecedented strain.

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