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University of Cumbria London Public Lecture: Prof Brian Webster-Henderson

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Prof Brian Webster-Henderson asks ‘Growing the nursing and health workforce across the UK: an uphill battle or a self-made struggle?’

*Due to the planned strike at Transport for London, the lecture will now take place entirely online. Participants who have registered for in-person tickets have been emailed and will be sent a link to the online session*

The current shortages of nurses and many allied health professions across the UK is not a new phenomenon. Yet the scale of the current challenges within the workforce will require new paradigms of thinking in relation to three key areas:

· recruitment of individuals into entry routes for professional regulated much needed careers

· new paradigms of delivery that equip the trainees with new skills required to deliver health care of the future

· career pathways post qualification that support newly qualified nurses and allied health professionals flourishing and continue to be part of the much-needed workforce.

However, the challenges are great. A government target of 50,000 more nurses (largely being met by international recruitment) is just the tip of the iceberg. Healthcare professionals leaving the NHS due for a range of real problems further compounds the problem and a further crisis of a lack of an academic workforce to educate the workforce simply adds to a scenario of challenge.

Professor Webster-Henderson will explore all these issues, and will answer the questions which are often raised when the public and even other health care professions ask;

– does nursing really need to be a degree profession?

– Have universities and the graduate approach to training nurses and allied health professionals intensified the challenges?

– How will we grow a workforce for the future?

– Is it going to be an uphill battle or have we really just created a self -made problem and now cant find a way forward?

The lecture will explore all these issue, look to possible solutions as well as offering some system wide considerations. What is clear, is that the evidence to date on the numbers of professionals required for the growing demands of continued health care in the UK require a radical solution. More of the same wont work, more of the same will be an uphill battle and a self-made struggle.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment & Innovation)

University of Cumbria

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment and Innovation) at the University of Cumbria where he holds a strategic portfolio that covers health, science, wellbeing, equality diversity and inclusivity as well as research and knowledge exchange. Prior to joining the University of Cumbria in 2018, Brian held a number of senior academic leadership positions in the UK including Edinburgh Napier University, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen and University of Southampton and has been a Professor since 2009.

Brian is both a mental health nurse and an adult nurse and has been a registered nurse for 38 years. Has worked in substance misuses services specialising in alcohol dependency, as well as leading services in gastroenterology, hepatology and emergency medicine. He is currently working in partnership with Imperial College London to create the Cumbria School of Medicine which will open in 2025 as a joint venture between the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London.

Brian has an extensive national and international profile and is Chair of the Council of Deans of Health UK ( which represents the voice of the university sector in relation to nursing, midwifery, allied health professions education and research, with over 102 universities as members across the UK, a role he has held for the last 6 years. He has provided evidence to the Health Select Committee and a number of other national and strategic organisations in relation to workforce issues, education and innovative solutions. He was recently recognised as a Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute in 2022 and is a Governor at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.