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A workforce for the future


We want to transform the nation’s lung health. To do this we need to have the right health care professionals to provide the care and support that people with lung disease are entitled to expect.

We can do this by planning for the future, having the right number of staff and giving them the skills and tools they need.  

A workforce for the future

We need a plan

What's the issue?

We have a dedicated and committed NHS workforce. But they are unevenly represented around the country and not always given the support they need. Too many posts in GP practices, hospitals and the community remain empty.

There is no comprehensive plan for the respiratory workforce, which ranges from physiotherapists and GPs to nurses and radiologists.

How do we solve it?

  • We need NHS England to take the lead to make sure that we have the right number of health care professionals with the right skills to care for patients with lung disease.
  • We need to make plans now so Health Education England can begin training the health care professionals we will need over the next few years.

Our vision for the future

We’ll see different parts of the NHS coming together to build the workforce we need now and in the future. 

Planning the workforce for the future

 “We need to make plans now for the workforce we will need in five years, 10 years and even 20 years. We cannot afford delay, if we are to meet our commitment to patients.”

Wendy Preston, Head of Nursing Practice, Royal College of Nursing

A workforce for the future

Staff numbers

Staff numbers
extra GPs needed to meet demand
hospitals have at least one vacancy for a respiratory clinician
nurses reaching retirement age over next 10 years

What's the issue?

There are already gaps in the respiratory workforce and many posts remain vacant.

How do we solve it?

  • We must increase the specialist respiratory workforce as the number of people with lung disease is rising.
  • We must ensure we have enough doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and scientific staff so that everyone can get the right diagnosis and treatment.
  • We need to support health care professionals to work at the highest level of their knowledge and skills.
  • We must invest in continuing professional training and development programmes

Our vision for the future

We’ll see growing numbers of all kinds of health care professionals, with enough respiratory specialists to meet increased patient need.

 “There are not enough trained respiratory specialists to fill current vacancies and it is not unusual for consultant job adverts to attract only one or two applications.”

Dr Lisa Davies, consultant in respiratory medicine at Aintree University Hospital

 “Our experience at Homerton shows the benefits of investment in people with the skills to help patients live with the challenge of a lung condition. It is about reaching out to the community, understanding their need and building a service with the capacity to support them.” 

Debbie Roots, Cardiorespiratory Nurse Consultant