A significant factor which impacts the quality of our care is the availability, capacity and productivity of the workforce, and we have significant gaps within our hospitals which are also predicted to rise.  Across Lancashire and South Cumbria, NHS hospitals employ around 40,000 people. We have higher vacancy rates than the national average, at nine per cent compared with 6.9 per cent across England and some of the highest levels of sickness absence in England. Furthermore, more than 20 per cent of our staff, approximately 8,000 people, are over the age of 55 and will therefore retire in the not-too-distant future. Alongside this, our ability to recruit is impacted by the condition of our infrastructure and the reputation and quality of our services. The consequence is a high level of agency staff usage, which comes at a considerable financial cost to the system and impacts the quality of care. The workforce gaps are shared by hospitals across the country which means hospital trusts often compete for the same staff. We face significant problems with recruiting the people we need and retaining them.

Our primary care workforce also faces significant challenges, with the number of GPs falling and half of the current GP workforce expected to have retired within the next two decades. The number of GPs reduced by 5.2 per cent from September 2019 to September 2022 and a quarter of the general practice workforce is aged 55 and older with a similar proportion aged 45 to 54.

The long-term sustainability of health and care is also dependent on having the right digital and data foundations in place to allow successful digitally-enabled transformation across our systems. Currently, 70 per cent of national digital transformation projects fall short of their objectives. Skilled digital, data, technology and clinical informatics talent within our system are therefore needed to implement, optimise and embed technologies for the benefit of our patients, citizens and the wider workforce

Accessibility tools

Return to header