NHS Reset workforce: reflections and asks to support employers


The health and care workforce strand of the NHS Confederation’s NHS Reset campaign has launched today (28 July) a summary of employer feedback on a selection of national policy and funding decisions to support employers with workforce priorities and a blog from the chair of NHS Employers' policy board.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive NHS Employers and deputy chief executive NHS Confederation said:

"Around the country we have seen our people respond to the challenges of COVID-19 with ingenuity, dedication and commitment. As Clare Panniker, chair of NHS Employers Policy Board, has described in her blog, there have been significant changes in how many of our services are delivered and we’ve seen people working together differently within and across teams, across primary, community and secondary care settings, to provide the best care possible.

"There is no desire from anyone to roll back on the progress made, especially where there have been improvements in the offer or experience for our staff as well as the population being served. We have seen however, deep-rooted problems with workforce discrimination and inequality come to the fore, which must be addressed. There are also long-standing workforce supply issues in need of urgent action.

"Through our conversations with employers they have given a clear message of the opportunity we have to use the learning from recent months to make decisions about the future that will have a positive impact on all of our staff.

"We have used this feedback to prioritise suggestions for national leaders which will supplement and support the actions of local leaders to increase workforce supply and improve staff experience – they focus on relationships and ways of working between the different parts of the system and practical national policy and funding decisions that would help.

"Employers are looking to the forthcoming People Plan to set out an approach which addresses both. The themes are listed below and you can download the summary to see the specific asks.”

The health and care workforce strand of the campaign will publish a full report later in August.

Themes from the summary:

Local focus - the experience an individual has at work is created in the place where they work. Any actions need to empower local leaders to work with local partners, to make decisions about how best to support their workforce.

Tackling discrimination - the pandemic has shown the inequality experienced by BAME and other colleagues which employers are wanting to address through approaches to recruitment, people management and the design of on-going talent management or development plans  - underpinned by listening to the voices of our people through local and national networks.

Addressing long standing workforce issues through national policy and funding decisions - many of the workforce issues facing employers, especially around skills gaps and supply, pre-date the pandemic. Making changes to the way in which the apprenticeship levy can be used, funding additional placement capacity, enhancing the mental health and wellbeing offer for staff and running a national campaign to attract into training and employment across health and social care will help. Alongside these, long-term investment funding to deliver a modern total reward package is essential as a core component of any attraction and retention offer for staff.

Partnership working between employers and staff organisations - through the height of the pandemic a number of temporary workforce and employment related changes were agreed between national staff organisations, employers and the Department of Health and Social Care – as we move into the next phases of managing services with COVID-19, these must be re-visited and not assumed as long term changes.


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