Who does workforce planning well? Workforce review team rapid review summary

Int J Health Care Qual Assur. 2010;23(1):110-9. doi: 10.1108/09526861011010712.


Purpose: This paper sets out to disseminate new knowledge about workforce planning, a crucial health sector issue. The Health Select Committee criticised NHS England's failure to develop and apply effective workforce planning. The Workforce Review Team (WRT) commissioned the Institute for Employment Research, Warwick University, to undertake a "rapid review" of global literature to identify good practice. A workforce planning overview, its theoretical principles, good practice exemplars are provided before discussing their application to healthcare.

Design/methodology/approach: The literature review, undertaken September-November 2007, determined the current workforce planning evidence within and outside health service provision and any consensus on successful workforce planning.

Findings: Much of the literature was descriptive and there was a lack of comparative or evaluative research-based evidence to inform U.K. healthcare workforce planning. Workforce planning practices were similar in other countries.

Practical implications: There was no evidence to challenge current WRT approaches to NHS England workforce planning. There are a number of indications about how this might be extended and improved, given additional resources. The evidence-base for workforce planning would be strengthened by robust and authoritative studies.

Originality/value: Systematic workforce planning is a key healthcare quality management element. This review highlights useful information that can be turned into knowledge by informed application to the NHS. Best practice in other sectors and other countries appears to warrant exploration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Health Planning / methods
  • Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Planning Techniques*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • State Medicine / organization & administration*
  • United Kingdom