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UK healthcare is in the throes of a workforce crisis. There are 10,000 fewer doctors and over 50,000 fewer nurses than are required to run a safe and sustainable service. Multiple factors from removal of nursing bursaries, introduction of university fees, poor working conditions, under-resourcing of healthcare services, unmanageable workloads, learned helplessness of clinical risk and a culture of incivility or blame is driving the workforce of the future away from NHS. Several governmental agencies, arm’s length bodies and trade unions have been grappling with this challenge. A few solutions have been recommended under the new contract for junior doctors, reintroduction of support for nurses and expansion of medical school places, but some are yet to be implemented. NHS leaders continue to support blue-sky thinking in terms of workforce innovations but tend to drag their feet when it comes to adoption. This reluctance by senior clinicians, managers and policy makers may be related to a lack of understanding of the values that drive the millennial generation that most younger healthcare workforce belong to. This article will explore the challenges and solutions from a generational perspective and offer an insight to guide future decision-making.
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