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A future vision for the NHS: future workforce

How would you reduce the system pressures on doctors and increase retention?

Workforce shortages, exacerbated by funding cuts, mean that the number of doctors working in the NHS has not kept pace with rising demand and unmanageable workloads. As a result, low morale, stress and burnout are unfortunately characteristic of life for those doctors working in the NHS today and many feel impacts on their ability to provide safe, quality care.

Doctors at all career stages are choosing to leave the NHS at a time when they are needed most. This has been compounded by the problem of decreasing numbers of those choosing medicine as a career.

There have been a variety of measures to address this across the UK. New non-medical clinical roles have been introduced to help manage workload, but tensions have arisen due to a broad range of issues (e.g. impact on training, supervision, regulation, scope of practice). Finally, there has been an increase in the use of technology to help reduce workload.

These measures will take time and there will not be a significant increase in doctors at all levels for several years. We will explore with members what the future of the workforce should look like, both in terms of the role of a doctor within a multidisciplinary team, and the skill mix of that team, given the needs of patients with increasing levels of co-morbidities.

Find more information on the BMA's work around training and workforce.


Get involved

As part of the Caring, supportive, collaborative project we’ve now started a conversation with doctors across the country through a series of local engagement events. These events give doctors an opportunity to contribute their views to our collective vision for the future of the NHS. 

The events focus on the themes of the project:

  • Culture - How do we create a supportive working culture in which doctors and staff feel able to provide safe, quality care for patients? 
  • Workforce - How would you reduce the system pressures on doctors and increase retention?  
  • Collaboration and structure - How could leaders in the NHS create an environment where doctors are incentivised to work across the interface between primary and secondary care? 

If you have a view on any of these questions, please share it with us at [email protected].

We want to develop positive and workable solutions, and this takes bold thinking. Your contributions will be vital in driving this project forward, to help us create a future vision of the NHS that is caring, supportive and collaborative.

Further information on the project is available here

Find details of upcoming Caring, supportive, collaborative events here