Horizon 2035: health and care workforce futures

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How might current and future pressures on the health, public health and social care system impact the workforce and what might the future hold for this system 20 years from now?

Horizon 2035

The NHS turned 65 in 2013, and our health, public health and social care services are arguably facing their most testing period yet. Consensus is building on what the future long-term challenges and opportunities facing the health and care health system are. We at the CfWI identified many of these through our forthcoming Big Picture Challenges (BPC) programme. Recognising that our health and care services are delivered by people with diverse skills working in different, evolving roles, now is the time to consider how these challenges and opportunities may combine in the future and impact this workforce.

Building on our BPC work, the Department of Health commissioned the Horizon Scanning team to engage sector experts and consider different workforce futures 20 years from now. The outcomes of this work will help ensure our health and care services can meet the challenges facing them, help to avoid boom-and-bust workforce planning outcomes, and ultimately provide better value for tax payers.

To deliver these 20-year views, we identified a series of activities that our team together with sector experts conducted:


Recent Horizon 2035 publications

All recent horizon scanning publications can be viewed on the CfWI website publications page.

Telling a workforce story of the last 20 years - Horizon Scanning team publish 'Horizon 2035: The context' presentation

CfWI Horizon Scanning team have published Horizon 2035: The context, a presentation designed to provide context for our research activities and outputs in the Horizon 2035 programme.  

For a full-screen view, please view: http://prezi.com/qvc2veyqq0ou/horizon-2035-the-context-by-the-cfwi-hs-team/.

This Prezi sets the scene for the health, social care and public health workforce by visualising workforce and wider system data, and identifying major legislative changes. By telling a story of the last 20 years we can, through collaboration with sector experts and representatives, better consider the next 20 years of this large and important workforce system.

The Prezi is intended as a preliminary, and selective, overview of sources to support the above purpose, rather than a comparative or systematic analysis. For more information on the Horizon 2035 research programme, please see our recent publication 'Horizon 2035: Health and care workforce futures progress update.'  


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Published in July 2014, Horizon 2035: Health and care workforce futures progress update, outlines the stakeholder engagement and various methodologies being designed to contextualise the information used for scenario planning for our Horizon 2035 initiative.

Within the report, we showcase how we are working with a new methodology to place a lens on both the current and future social care, public health and healthcare landscapes. It includes scrutiny of a wide collection of concepts under the umbrella of competence including skills, talents, ethics, attitudes, knowledge, behaviours, experience, competencies, expertise, values and beliefs.

 The full report can be downloaded from the CfWI publications page.




We unveiled six infographics in March 2015 which summarise plausible scenarios that were generated by key industry experts to help shape our Horizon 2035 programme. They help us to understand the key factors affecting the system and how they influence each other. Four dimensions were chosen by the expert participants from the 29 most important factors, which were the economy, technology, workforce flexibility and self-care.

Common workforce themes emerging from the scenarios include modifying skill mixes to respond to these futures, changing responsibilities around demand, and the changing role of organisations and people across this system and the sectors within it.

You can view all of the scenarios here.


H2035 Future demand for skills cover

In August 2015 we published the initial findings from Horizon 2035 in Horizon 2035: Future demand for skills – initial results. We have released four key messages to help stakeholders to recognise that our health and care services are delivered by people with diverse skills working in different, evolving roles which will change over the next 20 years.

These are:

1. Based on our current understanding, we are projecting that demand for health and care skills could grow more than twice as fast as overall population growth by 2035.

2. Much of this growth is driven by increasing healthcare and support demands associated with long term conditions. This relates both to the ageing population and a projected increase in prevalence across age groups.

3. The initial results also suggest that the future profile of demand may be profoundly different to the picture of demand today. For example, growth in demand for lower ‘levels’ of skill – such as those associated with unpaid care, support carers and NHS bands 1-4 - are projected to substantially outstrip growth in demand for higher skill levels associated with medical and dental professionals.

4. Quantifying and projecting the whole health, social care and public health system in terms of the component workforce skills can reveal new insights for workforce planning. These insights can surmount notions of workforces and sectors and can help to align the skill mix of the future with the case mix of the future.

You can download the report in full here.