A COVID-19 Workforce Survey report released today by Skills for Health confirms that the coronavirus pandemic has had wider than expected consequences on the NHS and wider health and care workforce, stating that this impact will continue to significantly influence service delivery for some time to come.
This vital national research is based on the COVID-19 Workforce Survey, which was conducted by Skills for Health in June 2020. It received 2,950 responses from those working across the NHS, health and care services. The findings clearly show that following three months of extreme change in the sector, organisations suffered severe skills loss. The COVID-19 Workforce Survey report highlights the critical issues which contributed to this loss, with the aim of supporting the sector to rebuild and reset for a sustainable future, both immediately and long-term.
Jon Parry, Head of Research and Evaluation at Skills for Health said, 'This report is the first step in our efforts to provide intelligence and support which will help guide a path to recovery in terms of service delivery, and most importantly, ensure that employee wellbeing is at the forefront of future ways of working.'
Andrew Lovegrove, Senior Workforce Development Consultant at Skills for Health has outlined some of the key insights in the report. These include:
- Nearly a quarter of respondents say skills will be lost due to COVID-19. This could be as a result of staff retiring, people resigning early due to burnout, staff illness and/or staff self-isolating, and, in some cases, the death of a staff member.
- Nearly 100% of respondents stated that infection prevention and control, as well as conveying information effectively, will be a key future skill.
- Over 95% thought that dealing with out-of-the-ordinary situations and the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials would be crucial for staff going forward.
- 70% say training needs have increased. Alongside this research, Skills for Health wants to ensure that workforce planning and development teams can implement the practical, evidence-based measures to support the recovery and sustainable growth of a highly skilled workforce for the future.
- Almost half of employers report their organisational structure will look different.
Andrew commented on the findings of the COVID-19 Workforce Survey , 'The immediate fallout from COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time. We need to think differently; not just about how we deliver our services but crucially who is going to provide them and in what way.
'Sustainable change is not just about fixing things in the short-term; flexible working (such as home-working) brings its own set of challenges. We need to assess the negatives as well as the positives of these issues; work out "what’s worked and what hasn’t?" Only when we know this can we make more impactful long-term changes.
'We’ve long advocated that workforce planning and development is a vital activity of any health organisation. COVID-19 has highlighted that we’ll "fail" without adequate people planning. Our team at Skills for Health are ready to help with a range of solutions to understand and practically see to the challenges presented in these COVID-19 Workforce Survey findings.'