Transforming Children’s Healthcare: A Collaborative Approach to Health Play Workforce Development


By Skills for Health | 22 March 2024

Skills for Health are delighted to announce that we are working in partnership with Starlight on the production of a Health Play Workforce Development Strategy on behalf of NHS England. Starlight are a children’s charity foundation with ambitions to transform children’s health through play. Our workforce specialists at Skills for Health are thrilled to work alongside Starlight and the wider group of dedicated workforce development partners in creating a meaningful and sustainable plan to achieve the anticipated service demand and workforce growth required in this field.

Adrian Voce, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Starlight, says:

A major part of Starlight’s mission is for all children receiving healthcare to have the support they need from skilled play teams. Our report of the taskforce we led with NHS England identified the need for a strategy to develop and grow this important workforce. We are delighted to have enlisted the expertise of Skills for Health in helping us to chart that plan alongside our close colleagues in the professional practitioner community, the education and training sector, and the institutions of the NHS.

Irene O’Donnell, Special adviser to the Taskforce on play in healthcare for NHSE & Starlight, Society of health play specialists board trustee and the UCLH Trust Lead for Therapeutic Play and Youth Services says: 

The health play profession is an integral part of the NHS workforce and key to the delivery of high quality holistic care for babies children and young people. We are delighted to partner with Skills for health to work in collaboration with the key stakeholders on creating a road map to growing a sustainable workforce.

If you’d like to find out more about the work or the role of health play specialisms, please get in touch with our team:

Jon Freegard –

Matt Girdlestone –


Why the NHS Needs Workforce Planning More Than Ever 

Laura Schell appointed as Skills for Health Client Director 

How the NHS Staff Survey results highlight the crucial role of workforce planning 

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