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Skills for Health warns on management and leadership skills gaps
According to a new report from Skills for Health, increases in skills gaps, especially in leadership and change management, pose a growing threat to the health sector's future effectiveness.
The UK Sector Skills Assessment 2011 reviews the health sector's skills and workforce needs against a backdrop of rapid organisational and technological change, financial constraint and rising demand for services caused by an ageing population and increases in long-term conditions.
The report says that these trends will require unprecedented improvements in quality and productivity, and warns that failure to tackle growing management and leadership skills gaps will hamper the introduction of necessary workforce transformation measures.
Ian Wheeler, Skills for Health head of research, said: "Skills gaps are always a cause for concern and are particularly worrying at a time when the sector is undergoing significant change.
"Management, team working and problem-solving skills in particular are set to become much more important as employers embark on large-scale workforce transformation.
"It is vital that health employers continue to invest in skills development, if they are to realise the vision of a flexible and productive workforce continuing to deliver high-quality care."
The report says that 32% of employers in England report gaps in management and leadership skills, while in both England and Scotland gaps in problem solving skills were reported by 44% and 47% of employers respectively. Teamwork also featured highly with 40% of Scottish employers and 41% of English employers reporting this as a skills gap.
The assessment also highlights the importance of tackling literacy and numeracy skills gaps. In England, 20% of health sector employers reported skills gaps concerning literacy, while 15% reported skills gaps concerning numeracy.
The Skills Assessment 2011 is part of a suite of skills and labour market intelligence reports and briefings produced by Skills for Health, the Sector Skills Council for health, to support workforce planning and skills development throughout the sector.
It draws on 'scenario planning' activities conducted with health employers from the NHS, independent and voluntary sector throughout the UK, which looked at the sector's emerging skills priorities towards 2020. Alongside enhanced management and leadership skills, it is anticipated that these will include:
UK Sector Skills Assessment 2011 is available from: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/lmi
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