NHS Providers and wider provider sector welcomes new interim NHS people plan
03 June 2019
- NHS England and NHS Improvement have published the interim NHS People Plan.
- The plan argues that as well as recruiting more staff, the NHS needs to do more to improve staff retention and transform ways of working.
- It focuses on three key areas - recruiting more staff; making the NHS a great place to work, and equipping the NHS to meet the challenges of 21st-century healthcare.
Responding to the interim NHS People Plan released today, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson said:
“Trusts leaders tell us that the range of workforce challenges they face, centred on recruiting and retaining the right number of staff, are their number one concern. There is no single, quick solution to these problems. They have developed over several years and will require concerted, purposeful, action over a similar time period to start addressing them.
It’s the first, clear, public recognition from our national system leaders of the severity of the workforce challenges the NHS faces.
“That’s why this interim people plan is so important. It’s the first, clear, public recognition from our national system leaders of the severity of the workforce challenges the NHS faces. You can’t solve a problem until you honestly and openly acknowledge its existence, scale and size.
“The plan is a welcome statement, for the first time, that solving our workforce challenge isn’t just about future workforce planning and more money, important though these are. We welcome the focus on making the NHS a great place to work, changing its leadership culture and training a workforce equipped for the future. Trust leaders have a key role to play on each of these issues. You can’t solve a problem until you have the right strategy.
Solving our workforce challenge isn’t just about future workforce planning and more money, important though these are.
“The plan also seeks to pull all of the NHS together behind this single, clear, approach – a unity of purpose that’s been sadly lacking for far too long. Government, arms length bodies and front line leaders all have a vital part to play here, with more responsibility and resource rightly being devolved towards local systems. We particularly welcome the much more inclusive way this plan has been developed and the speed of the work, which have genuinely felt different. You can’t solve a problem in a system as complex as the NHS until everyone agrees to align behind a single plan.
We particularly welcome the much more inclusive way this plan has been developed and the speed of the work, which have genuinely felt different.
“All of us, inevitably, wanted more. More money, more staff and more complete solutions to long running problems like pensions and immigration rules, delivered now. But, given the spending review timing and a Brexit focused Government that was never going to be possible. Given that context, we’d rather welcome the progress this interim plan has made, than bemoan what it doesn’t contain. However, it’s vital that these issues are addressed in time for the final plan. That includes the right outcome for NHS education and training budgets in the forthcoming spending review.”
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson was involved in this work alongside more than ten provider Chief Executives, and over 25 senior trust representatives.
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals FTs, who contributed to the work on NHS leadership said: “Frontline leaders can make the biggest contribution to solving the NHS’s current workforce challenges. There is a welcome focus in this report on the importance of changing the NHS leadership culture to better support and empower frontline staff, so we can consistently provide outstanding patient care.”
Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, who contributed to the work on the future medical workforce said: “We all know that we’ve been headed for a major workforce problem for many years. There are no easy, immediate, answers here but this is a start to ensure that we are pointed in the same direction together and know what we’re trying to achieve .”
There are no easy, immediate, answers here but this is a start to ensure that we are pointed in the same direction together and know what we’re trying to achieve .
Rob Webster, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, who contributed to the work on the future allied health professional workforce said: “This plan recognises that the NHS is a team that works with people to help meet their mental, physical and social needs. The critical role played by allied health professionals within that team is recognised in this plan and must be delivered if we are to have a successful NHS in the future. The plan builds on the great work started following “AHPs into action”, itself crowdsourced from the real experiences of professionals and patients across the NHS.”
Andrew Foster, chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust, who contributed to the work on making the NHS the best place to work, said: “Delivering great patient care depends on highly motivated staff who feel able to deliver the high quality care their patients expect. This plan rightly highlights the need for trusts to do more to keep and nurture their staff. Making the NHS a great place to work is key to that.”