In response to the publication of the Health Select Committee's report on workforce planning, Boom and Bust in the NHS, Sian Thomas, Deputy Director of NHS Employers said:
"The recommendations in today's Health Select Committee report on workforce planning will come as no surprise to employers. The NHS is working hard to improve workforce planning and employers are already acting on many of the committee's suggestions.
"Workforce planning has always been a huge challenge in healthcare. It isn't an exact science and the time it takes to train a healthcare professional means that the way services are provided may have changed in the meantime.
"We have seen a significant increase in numbers of staff in recent years and those increases were long overdue. As little as five years ago we were facing severe shortages across the professions which were threatening services to patients. Supply of staff and demand for staff are now much closely aligned and we now need a period of stability.
"There is always a focus on numbers of NHS staff but it isn't just about numbers, it is about where and how NHS staff work. Healthcare is changing - more care is provided outside hospitals; there are improved technologies and treatments. As a result we are developing new roles for example community matrons, maternity support workers. These are bringing benefits in areas such as in cancer care and in long-term conditions.
"The NHS is now working with social care, local government, independent and voluntary sectors, trade unions and higher education institutions to make the most of job opportunities for newly qualified healthcare professionals.
"It is important to have a broad national framework to steer employers in their workforce planning but it is crucial that employers are able to shape local plans to get the workforce the NHS needs to provide the best services to patients.
"We will consider the Health Select Committee's recommendations carefully and will work with employers to improve workforce planning for the future."
Press enquiries: please contact Emma Robinson on 020 7074 3307 or Gemma Jeffcoate on 0207 308 3308 in the NHS Employers press office.