This week’s Health and Social Care Committee report and last week’s analysis from the REAL Centre (The Healthcare Foundation) both focus on the workforce crisis in the context of doctors, nurses and other frontline clinical roles, but similar problems are being experienced across other critical roles within the NHS. This includes the essential support provided by Estates & Facilities staff who keep the hospital premises and its services operating efficiently and safely, day-in and day-out. Without the armies of cleaners, caterers, porters, engineers, energy & sustainability/waste managers, for instance, hospitals would not be able to function. However, this critical E&F workforce is often overlooked.
The workforce survey carried out by NHS England and NHS Improvement* in 2019 revealed 4,400 vacant posts in E&F roles across England. HEFMA and its members are very aware of this problem, which is why, in 2020, we made Workforce one of our four key workstreams in our Strategy to 2025 and last year, in partnership with the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM), we launched our Workforce Strategy for E&F professions within the NHS, and our interactive Career Route Map. We also welcome the recent publication of the Estates & Facilities Workforce Action Plan by the NHS England National Estates and Facilities workforce team.
Our E&F workforce are essential to the smooth and safe running of all healthcare services and premises and should not be forgotten in any initiatives to address the workforce crisis across the NHS.
* On July 1, NHS England and NHS Improvement became just NHS England.