Not more of the same: Ensuring we have the right workforce for future models of care

30 / 10 / 2014

The Royal College of General Practitioners, which has estimated that England needs more than 10,000 more GPs by 2022 to meet increased demand, warns of a GP workforce crisis with consequences such as practice closures and even longer waiting times for appointments. This worrying situation has led politicians to make promises about workforce numbers that, while helpful in the short term, could risk leading to more of the same in terms of a service model in the medium to long term.

This paper sets out some considerations for developing a primary care workforce that is fit for purpose now and in the future. It argues that workforce planning and modelling assumptions in primary care need to incorporate new, emerging and more sustainable models of primary care.

There is a danger that the demand induced, supply side modelling we are currently using will inevitably predict a blanket increase in the numbers of particular workforce groups; in other words, “more of the same.” It is our belief that using current modelling assumptions without paying attention to a fundamental change in the model of care delivery across a population will not add sufficient value, may promote greater health inequity and may lead to a system of care which is fundamentally unsustainable.

This paper has been written following the discussions of a small group of both members and staff of the NHS Confederation and the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC). It does not necessarily represent the views of the NHS Confederation or its members.

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