National Audit Office. NHS England's modelling for the Long Term Workforce Plan. 2024. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

NHS England. NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. 2023. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

NHS Providers. Weaknesses found in NHS Long Term Workforce Plan ‘deeply concerning’. 2024. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

Do we know where we are heading?

18 April 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 8


Sam Foster, Executive Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council, considers the issue of long-term workforce planning, focusing on England

The required actions from nurses to enable the delivery of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP), whether in frontline care delivery or education roles, need some consideration. Setting out both ambition and actions, the plan (NHS England, 2023) estimates that the NHS workforce will need to grow to from 1.4 million full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in 2021/22 to between 2.3 million and 2.4 million FTE workers in 2036/37.

The LTWP includes expansion of pre-registration and clinical apprenticeship programmes. The aim is that, by 2031, 22% of training for all programmes will be provided via this route from the current baseline of 7%. This is supported by several reform priorities for the clinical professions, including a 40% rise in nursing associate training places over the next 5 years. By 2036/37, the objective is to have over 64 000 nursing associates working in the NHS, compared with 9300 in 2023.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content