NHS recovery to “put staff wellbeing at its heart”

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editor@newrytimes.com
Thursday, July 30th, 2020
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NHS People Plan to address new pandemic challenges and improve physical and mental health support for staff.

 

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock will today welcome the launch of the new NHS People Plan as he launches a new bureaucracy busting drive so staff can spend less time on paperwork and more time with their patients.

The NHS People Plan published today puts NHS staff wellbeing at its heart with a new recruitment, retention and support package.

 

 

It sets out practical support for wellbeing such as safe spaces to rest and recuperate, wellbeing guardians and support to keep staff physically safe and healthy.

The People Plan builds on the innovations driven by staff during the pandemic and sets out how the NHS can embed them.

This includes the rapid assembly of research nurses and clinical trial assistants to recruit patients for the world’s biggest randomised clinical trial, the surge in volunteers to support those in need and a new emphasis on flexible working with remote meetings and consultations becoming widespread. 

The People Plan and a new bureaucracy busting call for evidence will work together to find and promote positive changes made before and during the pandemic.

This could include allowing staff to use secure messaging services like WhatsApp so patients can benefit from rapid access to information and making it easier to link millions of primary care records to the latest data on coronavirus, helping Government do the world’s largest analysis of coronavirus risk factors.

 

 

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said, “Every single person working in the NHS has contributed to an unprecedented national effort to beat back this virus and save lives.

“They have protected us and in return, this Government will do everything in its power to protect and support them.

“By making the NHS the best place to work we’ll recruit and retain more talent and deliver 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 26,000 staff primary care professionals. 

“Our NHS People deserve to get on with caring for patients and this crisis has proved there’s bureaucracy that our healthcare system can do better without.

“So I’m urging people across the NHS and social care to speak up about what red tape you can do without to allow you to better deliver the high-quality care you are renowned for,” he added.

Key actions from the NHS People Plan include:

From January 2021, all job roles across NHS England and NHS Improvement will be advertised as being available for flexible working patterns.

All NHS organisations will complete risk assessments for vulnerable staff, including black and ethnic minority colleagues, and take action where needed.

 

 

Encouraging former staff to return to practice as part of a recruitment drive during 2020/21, building on the interest of clinical staff who returned to the frontline to support during the pandemic. A recent survey of returners revealed around half were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

Boosting the mental health and cancer workforce including by offering training grants for 350 nurses to become cancer or chemotherapy specialists.

Working with universities to increase over 5,000 undergraduate places from September 2020 in nursing, midwifery, allied health professions and dental therapy and hygienist courses.

A new £10 million fund for clinical placements for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to support employers in educating and training the next generation of professionals.

Every NHS trust, foundation trust and CCG must publish progress to ensure that at every level the workforce is representative of the overall black and ethnic minority workforce.

The NHS will launch a new quarterly staff survey to better track morale on top of the current annual survey.

The pandemic also highlighted areas where unnecessary bureaucracy can be cut, while still ensuring safe, high standards of care.

 

 

Health and care staff will be invited to share their insights and experiences of overly burdensome bureaucracy in the health and social care system as part of a call for evidence.

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.

“The 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.

Prerana added, “These changes must remain part of the blueprint of our NHS as we move forward together.”


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