In a recent webinar, KPMG experts and Northern Care Alliance (NCA) leaders shared their perspectives on developing and using a solution to prepare for future workforce needs.

Even though workforce challenges in health and care have been talked about for years, they have been exacerbated over the last two years. As a result, leaders in the sector are reviewing their workforce plans to ensure there’ll be adequate staff to meet future demand.

Given the lack of data in the public domain, organisations have had to rely on broad service demand projections. Decision makers have lacked access to granular insights to make accurate workforce decisions across specialties and care settings. Results from a poll taken during our event also support this.

What our attendees said they:

0 do not have an effective strategic workforce plan in place

0 do not have the tools and capacity to predict staff numbers

0 would benefit from a strategic workforce planning tool

Clearly there is a need for accurate and actionable workforce insights. These will also be necessary for a transition towards Integrated Care Systems. Without knowing how much staff would be needed and where, organisations won’t be able to cater to health and care needs in their communities.

To help solve this, KPMG closely worked with the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) to develop a bespoke planning solution. The solution provides a consolidated view of workforce needs linked to activity and cost across care settings. The system-wide strategic workforce planning solution gives NCA leaders an estimate of workforce supply and demand and lets them account for changes in their service model.

Developing the tool for effective workforce decisions

The cost of getting this (workforce planning) wrong is greater than investing in getting it right. James Devine, Director & UK Lead for Health & Care Work

The size and structure of the NCA made it important for organisational leaders to get a comprehensive view of its workforce for future planning. With more than 18,000 employees and over a billion pounds as operating budget, the organisation manages over 2000 beds across four care organisations. For a strategic approach, it was essential to have a bird’s-eye view as well as a granular view of staff and cost across all services.

The solution developed with the NCA delivers this on a single platform. Developed using the Microsoft technology stack, including Azure and PowerBI, it can pack, unpack and predict different aspects of the workforce using organisational data. As a result, decisions can be based on the diverse needs of different health and care systems.

The starting point was bringing together workforce metrics in context with activity across care settings (acute, diagnostics, etc.) and finance data. The solution has the ability to show the workforce gap based on the NCA’s baseline position and in appropriate detail to service future demand and analyse supply. To bridge the gap, upskilling, new ways of working and technologies are some key considerations.

We developed the solution through deep collaboration across teams – planning, operations, strategy and finance. We found there is inherent complexity in getting a largely accurate sense of evolving service needs and shifting workforce demand and supply. Disconnected systems and data streams may add to this complexity. However, figuring out the right data sets and sources delivers compounding benefits for decisions that matter in the long run.

Going a step further by unlocking granular insights

The point…is to correlate the modelling to how services would actually be reconfigured to reflect real interventions and real complexity. Fayaz Tirmizi, Workforce Solution Product Lead

To make transformation possible, you need a lot more insight beyond an overview of demand and supply across the organisation or system; there’s an acute need to identify the required number of experts in different specialisations in 5-10 years. Our solution is helping the NCA do that.

It can run multiple scenarios and helps leaders see the impact across the system on a single dashboard. Overall, insights from the tool can help answer several key questions. Would proposed workforce changes be affordable? Who is going to be impacted? If we ask a particular staff category to increase their responsibilities, how can we compensate them?

These insights can then help drive targeted decisions. For instance, you might see a greater need for hospital nursing in the future even as the supply for new nurses remains constrained. In such a scenario, you might assess impact and consider bridging the gap through different roles or new ways of working.

Questions our health and care strategic workforce planning solution can help answer:

  • Starting this year, what will workforce demand look like over the next 10 years?
  • What would be the impact of retirement and attrition?
  • What does the gap across specialties and job profiles look like?
  • What’s the total cost and what is the split like among roles?
  • What could activity look like in the future in different care settings?
  • What does workforce diversity look like?

Workforce skills: getting ahead on the road to transformation

It is about using the data…to redesign pathways, redesign roles, adjust skills and people shortages across all parts of health and care. James Devine, Director & UK Lead for Health & Care Work

Beyond hiring insights and budgets, the tool also provides crucial insights for transformation. For instance, looking at future areas of service growth can help with planning for relevant skills for the future. You might find out that you won’t need as many skilled professionals in certain areas while other specialties might see a staff shortage. In such cases, you might consider retraining existing staff to prepare for new roles. The data and insights can also serve as a starting point for conversations with institutions for medical and nursing education to ensure adequate workforce supply in areas of high demand.

Ultimately, with a combination of data, technology and human insight, the aim is to give back control to the organisation or system to better address future workforce challenges.

Contact us

To find out how our system-wide strategic workforce planning solution can help your organisation, feel free to reach out to Michael Allen or James Devine.