Challenges with workforce

Absence through sickness is a significant challenge in the NHS.  The absence rate in the English NHS was  6.7% in January 2022.  COVID-19 is clearly a part of the reason for these rates but pre-COVID rates typically fluctuate between 4-5% so nearly one day in 20 is typically  lost across the service which has a large and expensive workforce.   Just as challenging are the variations across the service which are notable across staff types.   Ambulance Trusts had the highest sickness absence rate at 9.9% in January 2022 and commissioning support units had the lowest sickness absence rate at 3.0%, remaining relatively unchanged since December 2021 (3.3%).

Differences of this kind are probably easy to understand: with front line employees more exposed to infections than administrative staff.  However, healthcare managers often need to grapple with inexplicable variances amongst staff groups  of the same kind in the same organisation doing similar jobs. 

Anxiety, stress, depression, other psychiatric illnesses is consistently the most reported reason for sickness absence, accounting for nearly 539,300 full time equivalent days lost and 19.9% of all sickness absence in January 2022.  The underlying reasons for these illnesses itself varies.  Management pressure, poor communication, overwork and general burnout are not unknown problems in the NHS. 

Gaining an independent assessment of the underlying issues helps clients get an understanding of the core issues and is a part of defining solutions.

We offer something genuinely different

With our partners Charkos we can source you clinical and technical staff from outside the UK market at NHS payscales.  We provide full training, induction and make them ready for work in the NHS. We provide ongoing pastoral support and training to ensure that their  skills remain highly relevant to your environment. 

Long term workforce planning is, of course, a necessity.   However, shorter, sharp interventions are needed to address tactical challenges such as high absence rates or difficulties in launching new initiatives (such as virtual wards).  We can help you better understand and solve such problems.

We are of the opinion that a key part of solving the workforce challenge in the future will be the careful curation of digital solutions which enhance productivity and automate some of the  more mundane activities done by humans today. We have insight into many of these tools in use in the NHS and overseas health systems

Supporting Demand


Identify priority areas and deliver a sustainable and ethical workforce strategy to recruit and retain a well-trained/skilled clinical workforce who are appropriately qualified for the role they will perform.

Skills Training

Deliver complementary, targeted post-grad educational programs to train and upskill Nursing and Medical staff, leveraging our expanding library of learning resources and links to international educational facilities.

Digital Toolkit

Deliver full diagnostic/workforce modelling and digital solutions for bank/locum staffing, credentialing and recruitment services, offering enhanced system-wide flexibility and efficiency.

Holistic Approach

Create collaborative and engaging partnerships to deliver better care and organizational resilience through workforce improvement services, innovation and digital transformation.

How we've helped

Our Workforce experts

Managing Principal
David is a dynamic executive, with 20 years’ experience in the management of strategic policy, intergovernmental relations, program implementation, change management, corporate services and service delivery at the most senior levels of Government.

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