NHS Long Term Workforce Plan: NAO report exposes weaknesses, RCGP warns of shortcomings for GPs

Responding to a new National Audit Office (NAO) report that indicated that NHS England’s Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP) needs improvements, the Royal
College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has expressed concerns that the plan may not adequately address the needs of GPs.

Published in June 2023, the workforce plan estimated that the NHS’s health workforce will need to grow from 1.4m full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in 2021-22 to
between 2.3m and 2.4m FTE workers in 2036-37, an increase of 65 per cent to 72 per cent.

However, the NAO report highlighted that the workforce modelling has significant weaknesses, including a complex design; manual adjustments; optimistic future
assumptions and limited public communication of their uncertainty; and modelling outputs that could not be fully replicated.

To improve the modelling, the report recommended exploring the uncertainty of these assumptions and considering potential outcomes if they do not materialize as
expected. Additionally, it suggested including full integration of the different parts of the modelling pipeline to minimise manual adjustments.