Government commits to NHS workforce development

Government commits to NHS workforce development

July 30, 2020

The NHS has today (30th July 2020) published a People Plan for 2020/21, which sets out how it will support the workforce to deliver the care that the NHS needs to over the next six months.

The People Plan makes commitments to providing greater support for the health and wellbeing of NHS staff, ensuring there is a pipeline of talent entering the workforce, and identifying and scaling up new ways of delivering care. It describes how a new recruitment, retention and support package will help boost numbers, featuring practical support for wellbeing and opportunities for flexible working.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare system in the last few months and the plan addresses this, setting out plans to capitalise on the increased interest in joining or returning to the NHS workforce, as well as the surge in volunteers.

An NHS People Promise, celebrating the key values of the NHS workforce and promising to keep improving the experience of working for the NHS, has been issued alongside the plan.

Key actions in the People Plan include:

  • Establishing resilience hubs to support staff with their mental health;
  • Advertising all NHSE&I roles with the option of flexible working (from January 2021);
  • Requiring all NHS organisations to complete risk assessments for vulnerable staff;
  • Running an international recruitment campaign;
  • Encouraging staff who returned to practice to support the COVID-19 response to stay;
  • Creating an additional 5,000 undergraduate places on healthcare courses (from September 2020);
  • Establishing a new National Learning Hub for Volunteering; and
  • Running a quarterly staff survey to better track morale.

Local healthcare systems are being asked to develop their own People Plans to tie in with local strategies for restoration and recovery.

Due to the need for confirmation on future NHS education and training budgets, a further People Plan will follow the upcoming Government spending review.

Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer, said:

“This plan aims to make real and lasting change in our NHS to benefit our hardworking staff. It includes practical actions based on what our people tell us matters to them, including a more equal, inclusive and flexible organisation.

β€œThe pandemic has created huge challenges, but it has also highlighted the courage and innovation we are capable of in the most difficult of times. We have recognised the need for consistently high quality health and wellbeing support for our staff, so they can better care for themselves and their patients. These changes must remain part of the blueprint of our NHS as we move forward together.”

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“PSNC welcomes an NHS People Plan that has the impact of COVID-19 woven through it. What the healthcare system has experienced and how it has adapted through this unprecedented situation rightly has a place at the heart of plans to develop those who work in or for the NHS.

Additionally, PSNC supports the principles of the NHS People Promise: this is a welcome statement of intent from the NHS highlighting the importance of looking after the wellbeing of everyone working in healthcare. Community pharmacies are proud to be a part of the NHS ‘family’ and of the contribution they are making to primary care, and we were particularly pleased to see the dedication and achievements of some community pharmacists highlighted in the People Plan document.

As a contracted sector, community pharmacy teams are not NHS employees, so it is not for PSNC to sign up to the People Promise on behalf of the sector and indeed some parts of it may not apply or are already covered by employment law and best practice. That said, we believe contractors will be able to support some of the key themes within the promise.”

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