Maintaining the momentum: People Plan is welcome, but more investment is needed to make it a reality
30 July 2020
Deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said:
"The publication of the People Plan today puts much needed momentum behind steps to create more inclusive and compassionate cultures within the NHS. We strongly support the commitment to prioritise staff health and wellbeing and to making the NHS a great place to work.
"The workforce is the backbone of the NHS, evident in its remarkable response to COVID-19. Staff deserve a supportive national framework and local working culture. In addition to health and wellbeing, this plan has some really important themes that will help staff to feel valued, such as more flexible working patterns.
"The pandemic has also highlighted that there is still more to do on equality and diversity and ensuring that staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities feel supported, safe and valued. There are some welcome commitments in the plan and this will be a key priority for trusts.
"We have long been calling for more investment in the mental health workforce and are pleased to see that there will be a specific drive to recruit more mental health nurses.
"However, although the plan has some investment attached to it, which is welcome, last year the Government made a number of manifesto commitments on workforce that will not be deliverable without significant funding.
"Growing the workforce takes time and international recruitment may also be problematic in the current climate.
"As part of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Government has to provide certainty that the workforce commitments can be met through a multi-year funding package. Without that, the manifesto commitments and the People Plan cannot be fully delivered.
"We also note that the national People Plan focusses on the NHS workforce as expected, and there remains a need for national policy makers to align their thinking on a coherent approach for health and social care together, reflecting the work now underway by local systems.
"We welcomed the inclusive approach NHS England took to developing this plan and ensuring that trusts’ views are reflected and will now work with trusts to support them to implement it."