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May 26, 2016

Reshaping the workforce to deliver the care patients need

Region: Europe Policy document Reorienting the model of care, Coordinating services within and across sectors Source: Nuffield Trust

Workforce structure is one of the most difficult things to modulate in health systems. Current transition to new models of care could be a good opportunity to make workforce structure match actual needs of systems and populations. In this report, published by the Nuffield Trust, it is analyzed how organizations could reshape their current workforce and what the benefits would be:

There is a need to evolve from an illness-based system to a patient-centred system.
Workforce should meet future needs by incorporating professionals with a vision aligned with future models of care.
There are opportunities to develop the current workforce at all grades: from redeploying support staff, extending the skills of registered professionals and training advanced practitioners.
There is good evidence that support workers can provide good-quality, patient-focused care as well as reduce the workload of more highly qualified staff. Investment here could provide a cost-effective and rapid solution to mitigating some of the pressures on more senior staff.
Extending the roles of the non-medical professional workforce provides opportunities to manage the growing burden of chronic disease more efficiently and effectively.
There is evidence that without careful role and service redesign, new and extended roles can: increase demand, supplement rather than substitute for other staff, cost rather than save, threaten the quality of care and fragment care.