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Create a diverse set of career paths for the NHS workforce

Last updated: 05:19pm 4 May 2019

…and create a diverse set of potential career paths for the NHS workforce.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.68

Our verdict

The government acknowledges the need to “make careers in the NHS more attractive”, stating that current NHS career development is too often based on an assumption that people want to do the same type of job throughout their career. In a speech in June 2018, the Prime Minister agreed that:

“For some that might be right, but others would embrace opportunities to learn new skills, take on new roles with new types of responsibility”

This policy promises that multiple different pathways will be created. One such opportunity is the nursing associate path, “which provides a work-based route into nursing for existing health and care staff or new recruits who may not be able to give up work to study full-time at university”. In October 2017, the government committed to training “5,000 nursing associates” in 2018, “with an additional 7,500 being trained in 2019”.

While there was no mention of NHS careers in the 2017-18 Government mandate to the NHS, the NHS Long Term Plan does include a section related to Supporting our current NHS staff. It promises two things:

  • Firstly, career progression. Health Education England is expecting to increase investment in career development and progression over the next five years. This is dependent on agreement of the training budget in the 2019 Government Spending Review.
  • Secondly, what’s called “multi-professional credentialing”.  This enables clinicians to develop new capabilities on other areas of competence, allowing them to shift or expand their scope of practice to other areas more easily.

With the nursing associate programme under way, and the long-term NHS plan showing the promise of more, we’re marking this as ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we’ll expect to see initiatives being put into action. Follow this policy for updates.

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