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Case Study – South East London Integrated Care Board

The NHS South East London Integrated Care Board (ICB) was established in July 2022, bringing together 17 local partners, including six local authorities as well as acute, community and mental health providers. The purpose of the ICB is to work together to meet the current and future health and needs of the 1.9 million residents within South East London.  

The need 

To fulfil this purpose, and to meet the diverse needs of communities across the region, the ICB are required to develop strategies and approaches for integrating the workforce across the Integrated Care System (ICS). This required the implementation of robust workforce planning measures to ensure that staffing numbers keep pace with long-term service needs.  

“We were looking to build workforce planning capacity and capability across primary care networks (PCNs) and to develop a sustainable model of workforce planning to meet long-term demand. As part of this, a key objective was to develop the first iterations of PCN level workforce plans and help those working across primary care to better collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders across the six boroughs and ICS as a whole.” 

Sam Hepplewhite, Director of Prevention & Partnerships, NHS South East London Integrated Care Board 

The solution 

NHS South East London ICB enlisted the help of Skills for Health to help them meet these needs.  

“Planning is not about what we’re going to do next week, it’s also thinking about what we’re going to do two to three years’ time. Skills for Health has a 20-year track record of empowering healthcare providers to plan their workforce requirements effectively. What’s more they have a reputation for delivering real value and leaving a lasting legacy for their clients by teaching them how to adapt their workforce plans and make them futureproof.” 

Sam Hepplewhite, Director of Prevention & Partnerships, NHS South East London Integrated Care Board 

Through our programme, which included facilitating workforce planning sessions and Six Steps Methodology training for participants, we enabled PCNs to connect, discuss their thoughts and build relationships that will embed a long-term approach to workforce planning.  

The impact 

“What you’ve left us with is a group of PCNs who are in a better place to start thinking about what an integrated workforce plan might look like. They’re now thinking much wider than just general practice. They’re thinking integrated neighbourhood, mental health, acute and community services in the round. I think that’s probably the lasting legacy of this programme, is that you left us with the ability to adapt our workforce plans iteratively and your approach ensures we can adapt our workforce assumptions to make it futureproof. And I think quite often, that’s not the case.” 

Sam Hepplewhite, Director of Prevention & Partnerships, NHS South East London Integrated Care Board 

Workforce Planning with Skills for Health

Since developing the Six Steps Methodology to Integrated Workforce Planning® and a suite of supporting tools, overt he past 15 years Skills for Health has continued to support the NHS and wider healthcare system in successfully utilising this now widely embedded methodology to strategic thinking. Through our practice, we offer strategic workforce planning consultancy, accredited strategic workforce planning development programmes, coaching and advisory, operational service and care pathway reviews, workforce planning diagnostics and readiness assessments, and quality assurances audits.