Last updated: 09.06.15

NHS and social care face staff shortages

A new report has warned that the NHS and social care sector can expect to face major staff shortages over the next few years.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills' (UKCES) report entitled 'Skills and performance challenges in the health and social care sector', revealed that while demand for care roles grows, there is an ongoing lack of available candidates with the required skills to meet the needs.

Not just this, but the report also stated that the provision of care must undergo change - for example, by making more specialists available in GP practices.

While the health and social care sector is the largest in the UK - employing nearly four million people - demand for workers is set to rise in the coming years, with the report estimating that more than two million people would need to be trained and recruited to meet the demands by 2022.

The research also showed that the average age of those currently working in the sector is between 50 and 64, highlighting a need for new talent, as the existing cohort are due to retire in the years ahead.

Vicki Belt, assistant director at UKCES said: "With medical advancements leading us to live longer, more active lives, the knock on effect is a sharp rise in the need for those who keep us in good health in our later years.

"These findings demonstrate the dramatic extent of this need - health and social care is already the largest sector in the UK, yet to meet the rising need for care we will need to see a 50 per cent increase in the number of people working in these fields."

Virtual College is a leading provider of online training to the healthcare sector. Since 2006, we have provided training to every NHS trust and our National Patient Safety Training Suite has had over 260,000 registered learners. To find out more, please visit: