NHS Providers responds to the Labour Party Health and Social Care Policy Commission

We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Labour Party health and social care policy commission document, Rebuilding a public NHS, both in this document and in person at a meeting of the health and social care policy commission.  

We have not responded to all questions in the document and instead have focused our response on the most pressing concerns for the provider sector including: key funding priorities, integrated care and workforce.  

Key messages

The key funding priorities for NHS trusts over the next five years include:

The NHS long term plan consolidates the national policy direction since 2014’s Five year forward viewin placing an emphasis on system working as the key driver of change and improvement in the NHS. The opportunity to increase collaboration and develop more integrated services is welcome, but in doing so it is important to ensure that any descriptions of the role and accountability of systems are clear and properly reflect the NHS legislative framework.  This means being explicit about the fact that integrated care systems (ICSs) and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) are the sum of their component, statutory, parts (clinical commissioning groups [CCGs], local authorities, NHS foundation trusts and trusts, and primary care colleagues and other local health and care organisations. 

Workforce is the number one concern for trusts, with over 100,000 vacancies across the sector. The interim NHS People Plan is welcome and is the first, clear, public recognition from the national system leaders of the severity of the workforce challenges the NHS faces. As we look ahead to the spending review and the publication of the final plan in the autumn, we would like to see appropriate funding for education and training and issues around domestic supply addressed in more detail. We would also like to see additional funding for continued professional development; clarity over financial support and targets for international recruitment; and revisions to the apprenticeship levy.