One year since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the political narrative has become one of recovery, for the health system as much as for the economy. But what does 'build back better' really mean for an exhausted and over-stretched healthcare workforce?

This paper aims to resolve the tension between ‘building back better’ health and care services and immediate workforce constraints. It argues that the government should develop a plan to support staff who are struggling, retain those considering leaving and attract new people to join the sector.

It proposes developing an effective,immediate-term workforce strategy based around the principles of Recover, Reward and Renew, and it draws on new IPPR/YouGov polling of 1,006 healthcare professionals to inform a range of practical policies that IPPR recommends, and to underscore the urgency of tackling the workforce crisis now.