Superb report by Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions – ‘Time to care: Securing a future for the hospital workforce in Europe’ makes excellent reading exploring how the healthcare sector is responding to the current challenges facing all and provides evidence based and highly actionable solutions.

Using a mixed methods approach, it incorporates interviews with Executive Directors of hospitals, policy makers and professional bodies; a survey of over 1000 medics from across Europe as well as considering the significant outcomes and recommendations from literature, research and analysis of international data sets.

It’s not surprising that that the report highlights as prominent themes a lack of time for hands on, patient facing care and widespread concern about workforce shortages with the WHO predicting a shortfall of up to two million health professionals (or 15 per cent of the workforce) across the EU by 2020. Nevertheless, universal debate needs to continue to be stimulated to ensure that the health and social care sector not only survives the coming years but thrives.

There’s no denying that an almighty challenge lies ahead: there is no quick fix, no magic bullet…sustainability, education, recruitment, retention, workforce planning, flexible workforces, new care models, motivation and wellbeing are giants in themselves and getting it right is certainly not going to be a short term numbers game but requires radical transformational thinking.

And we think it’s difficult now?! Tomorrows challenges will add to the current climate. As millennials continue to join the workforce, we will potentially see different expectations around work-life balance and flexible careers: will we be able to accommodate? Demographics of the talent pool will change due to our ageing workforce, added to this the increasingly competitive multi-sectoral market wanting the best of the best. Year on year, we see an increase in patient complexity; healthcare advances are marvellous but now we see significantly more co-morbidities and alongside this an increased expectation of the medical treatments that we should offer. And what about AI.. artificial intelligence? Robotics, automation, technological advances are continuing to shape healthcare leading to task shifting and reorganisation yet they still require distinctive human capabilities… will they disrupt further or be the answer?

These areas and many more are explored in great detail in sixteen high quality case studies with insightful infographics that point to achievable solutions which if implemented at pace and scale could help to transform services. A significant political commitment is needed otherwise the multiple concerns surrounding healthcare that are all too evident today, will become unsustainable tomorrow. After all, there can be no health without a workforce.

To read the full report ‘Time to care: Securing a future for the hospital workforce in Europe’, please click here