NHS hospitals, mental health services and community providers are now reporting a shortage of nearly 94,000 FTE staff, of which 39,000 vacancies are in nursing (one in ten posts).



Our NHS has a workforce of 1.3 million people.

For many years, the NHS has struggled to recruit and retain the numbers and types of staff which it requires to operate efficiently and safely. The demand for NHS services is increasing year on year as we see an expansion in our population and people living with complex health conditions. The gap between the demand and the capacity in our workforce is growing and there are not enough people available to support our existing models of care. It is therefore important to rethink the way we work and respond to these workforce challenges.

The NHS People Plan sets out the need to:

  • Look after our people – their health and wellbeing
  • Create an inclusive culture – through compassionate and inclusive leadership
  • Develop new ways of working - in terms of innovation and upskilling staff
  • Grow for the future – by renewing interest in NHS careers and new roles


Locally, our challenges echo that of the national picture. Some of the top workforce challenges include:

  • A high level of vacant posts, resulting in an increased reliance on temporary staffing
  • Ageing workforce - meaning that a large percentage of highly skilled and experienced staff are due to retire in the coming years
  • High levels of sickness absence, with stress/anxiety being one of the top reasons for absence
  • High levels of burnout due to increased activity and long waiting lists resulting from the pandemic

Workforce solutions

There are several ways in which we can address the workforce gap, some of the more traditional methods include the recruitment and retention of staff. However, as the innovation arm of the NHS, the AHSN network are particularly interested in supporting you with new ways of working, optimising existing workflows in order to enable time back to care. 

As a network we have developed a framework to help us demonstrate how innovation can drive efficiencies and that there are workforce gains in everything that we do.

At Health Innovation North West Coast we have also developed an offer around complex change and service transformation that redesigns a future state service model by introducing innovations in the way we work and the tools we use, to optimise the deployment of resources and embrace integrated care and personalised care concepts.

A showcase of just a sample of innovations available in both recruitment, retention and workforce optimisation are available below.

Are you interested in addressing your workforce challenges?

If you work in health and care in the North West Coast;  Get in touch >

Workforce solutions: Recruitment and retention

Part of a plan to address the workforce gap is to focus on the recruitment of new staff and the retention of existing staff by looking after their development, health and wellbeing and creating an inclusive culture.

Select recruitment and retention space to see solutions to support your organisation:

•  Supply, roster management and temporary staffing»

•  Training and development»

•  Health and wellbeing»

•  Leadership and culture»

Supply, roster management and temporary staffing

This set of innovations aims to support with the supply of new workforce,  increased and efficient access to temporary workforce and  efficient scheduling of staff rosters.

  • Psychology in PC (TAPP) >

    A new psychology trainee role in general practice settings

  • Dr Julian >

    Get expert help quickly & easily with qualified therapists and counsellors in the UK, straight from your phone or tablet.

  • Lantum >

    A total workforce platform for healthcare organisations, reducing spend and empowering healthcare staff.

  • Procomp solutions >

    Specialising in logistics and workforce planning and optimisation.

  • Doc Abode >

    A real-time clinician deployment platform that safely connects a multi-disciplinary clinical workforce to NHS patient needs.

  • Rohme >

    Recruiting healthcare & medical experts, such as nurses & HCAs, through our fully-automated platform.

  • Patchwork >

    It's time to take the stress out of temporary staffing. We empower healthcare workers and employers to manage safe staffing levels in ways that truly work.

  • Locum's Nest >

    The locum app that connects doctors to locum work in hospitals, whilst cutting out the inefficient, ineffective and expensive agency.

  • Malinko >

    Designed to complement your EPR, Malinko enables community services to operate with the same transparency and safety as an ambulance trust or inpatient area.

  • MaST >

    A digital solution that analyses data from multiple sources supporting mental health services.


Training and development

This set of innovations aims to support with the training and development of your existing workforce. Investing in your staff and upskilling the team is a positive strategy for retention.

  • Hexitime >

    The timebank for improving the quality of health and care services across the UK. It enables you to exchanges skills and ideas.

  • Inovus >

    Inovus is simulation surgical training for laparoscopic surgery

  • Virti >

    Utilising immersive learning, artificial intelligence and game design to drive employee engagement and enable your people to excel


Health and wellbeing

This set of innovations aims to support staff with their health and wellbeing. Looking after our staff is another important factor in ensuring the workforce are safe and well to work.

  • Red dot 365 >

    Fully funded therapy available to you and your staff

  • Shiny mind >

    Wellbeing and resilience mindset app created with NHS staff,

  • Yolo wellbeing >

    Improve workplace health through meditation and massage

  • Elemental software >

    Technology to help communities be better connected, build resilience and bring real precision to the measurement of the impact of their community investment (social prescribing).

  • Lyfe >

    Value-adding' wellbeing and reward schemes for employees 

  • Schwartz rounds >

    Schwartz Rounds provide a structured forum where all staff, clinical and non-clinical, come together regularly to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in healthcare.


    Wobble rooms >

    A wobble room is somewhere for our staff to relax, take a breath and have that down time that is often much needed on a daily basis. It is about us  giving something back to staff when they need it most.


Leadership and culture

This set of innovations aim to support with leadership. Compassionate and inclusive leadership is essential to creating a positive workplace culture.

  • Coaching Academy >

    A variety of learning experiences for individuals and teams aimed at building a healthy culture for spreading and adopting innovation.

  • Idea drop >

    Idea management platform

  • Stribe >

    Pulse surveys to reach people wherever they are · Give your employees a trusted place to talk 

  • Workpal >

    A digital performance empowerment platform for HR and OD professionals, NHS managers and executives.

Contact us for more information about these innovations >

Workforce solutions: Optimisation

Another part of a plan to address the workforce gap is to consider new ways of working and optimising the existing workforce to enable time or resources back to care. Most technologies will generate workforce efficiencies; however, they are often not primarily marketed to that effect. Moreover implementing tools like these need a parallel process to engineer the workforce changes required to make optimum use of them. An unintended consequence of  tool deployment without paying attention to workforce benefits can be that teams feel that this is just another job to do. Please read this link to our approach to designing change processes to avoid this trap.

Select optimisation space to see solutions to support your organisation:

•  Automated triage and referral»

•  Automated everyday tasks»

•  Remote monitoring»

•  Patient activation and self-management»

•  Integrated remote consultations»

•  Workforce planning»

•  Operational efficiencies

Automated triage and referral

This set of innovations aim to support with the triaging of incoming referrals.


Automated everyday tasks

This set of innovations aim to support with the automation of time consuming but basic processes so that skilled staff time can be spent in a more beneficial way.

  • Electronic Repeat Dispensing (ERD) >

    A process that allows a patient to obtain repeated supplies of their medication or appliances without the need for the prescriber to hand sign authorised repeat prescriptions each time

  • Automation anywhere >

    Global leader in Robotic Process Automation, offering cloud-native, web-based, intelligent automation solutions to the world

  • Ebo AI >

    AI virtual assistant which enables interaction with patients through two-way, real-time, automated conversations whilst maintaining empathy and the patient at the heart of it.


Remote monitoring

This set of innovations aim to support with the remote monitoring of patients that enable staff to manage many more patients at once.

  • Whzan >

    Clinically led healthcare monitoring systems

  • Vitacam >

    Vital signs measurement to identify deterioration.

  • Feebris >

    AI-guided tools support community and family care workers to capture and share precise health measurements with user training, work-flow restructuring and clinical quality assurance.


Patient activation and self-management

This set of innovations aims to support with activating patients to self-manage where beneficial, empowering them and in many cases providing the required support without needing to access a healthcare member of staff.

  • HN >

    A healthcare company that delivers AI guided case-finding, clinical coaching, remote monitoring, and virtual ward solutions to the NHS.

  • Sapien >

    A virtual program that helps people prepare their mind and body for surgery through sustainable lifestyle changes.


Integrated remote consultations

This set of innovations aims to support clinicians with providing appointments remotely.

  • Definition Health >

    A web-based platform that follows the NHS internet-first policy and allows patients to complete and access information at home while allowing hospitals to interact with live data in the hospital environment.


Workforce planning

This set of innovations aims to support with planning for an optimised workforce.

  • WRaPT >

    WRaPT is a partnership of experts in workforce transformation & cross economy healthcare focussing on helping the NHS & care sectors solve workforce issues.


Operational efficiencies

This set of innovations aims to support with creating efficiencies to existing processes.

  • Medishout >

    Technology which connects teams and suppliers in hospitals, GPs and care homes.

  • Navenio >

    It’s a bit like Uber…but for staff in healthcare

  • Intouch with Health >

    Patient Flow Management & hospital solutions to manage the full Patient Journey.

  • Thrive for endoscopy >

    A software tool for the efficient planning of endoscopy lists that maximises the number of patients seen within existing resources.

  • Cygnum >

    Digital solution for resource scheduling, casework and financial management

  • C2AI >

    Copeland Clinical AI (C2-Ai) provides globally unique, Ai-backed systems that help hospitals to demonstrably reduce avoidable harm, mortality and variation.

Contact us for more information about these innovations >


Innovation Insights is a series of online resources developed by Health Innovation North West Coast that aims to support colleagues in the health and care system in specific areas of care.

Our team work with health and care professionals to identify and research the challenges they face and investigate the most relevant products to address these challenges.

View all Innovation Insights

Who to contact for more information:

Charlotte Hall

Senior Programme Manager

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