Interim NHS People Plan


NHS England/Improvement has published (3 June 2019) the Interim People Plan for the NHS. This has been developed over the last few months and sets an agenda to tackle the range of workforce challenges in the NHS with a particular focus on the actions for this year.

The NHS Confederation has contributed to the development of the plan and will support the next steps. We welcomed the plan as an important first step in getting to grips with the number one challenge facing health leaders, but we warned that further investment is needed in the next Spending Review in order for an effective workforce strategy to be delivered. Read our statement here.

The plan is structured into the following themes: recruiting more staff, making the NHS a great place to work and equipping the NHS to meet the challenges of 21st century healthcare. Each theme has a number of immediate actions that need to be taken by NHS organisations to enable the people who work in the NHS to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.

A summary briefing by NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation is available here.

NHS Pension Scheme

As part of the theme of making NHS the best place to work, the government is bringing forward a consultation on a new pension flexibility for senior clinicians. The proposal would give senior clinicians the option to halve the rate at which their NHS pension grows, in exchange for halving their contributions to the scheme. This is a positive response to the concerns we have been raising on behalf of employers. However, we also believe the flexibility proposed should be available to support the retention of all members of our workforce and will continue to make that case.

Making the case for integrated care systems

Putting workforce planning at the centre of our planning processes, the plan pledges to continuing to work collaboratively with more people planning activities devolved to local integrated care systems (ICSs).

Actions include:

  • Co-produce an ICS maturity framework that benchmarks workforce activities in STPs/ICSs which also informs decisions on the pace and scale of devolution of workforce activities

The plan also includes specific commitments to:

  • increase the number of nursing placements by 5,700
  • increase the number the number of nurse associates to 7,500
  • increase the number of doctors and nurses recruited internationally.
  • work with Mumsnet on a return to the NHS campaign
  • better coordinate overseas recruitment.

We are delighted that the interim plan responds positively to our call for a much greater role for ICS and STP leaders in workforce development. We held two roundtables earlier this year to explore the workforce-related powers, freedoms and responsibilities that ICS’ and STPs are increasingly asking for. Our report, available here, made the case for more devolution of powers to ICS’ and it is good to see that this has been adopted by NHS England/Improvement.

Resource to download

NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, has produced a summary briefing and a slide pack of the key implications.

Final People Plan

NHS Improvement is continuing to work with all partners to further develop the final People Plan which is scheduled for release later this year, the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers will be part of the process of developing final proposals.


If you are interested in joining the online conversation about the Interim People Plan please follow #OurNHSPeople.


Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Confederation

  • Access exclusive resources 
    Access member-only resources and tailor member benefits and services
  • Personalise your website
    Select topics of interest for recommended content
  • Comment and recommend
    Rate and share content with colleagues
  • Never miss a thing
    Register now to keep your finger on the pulse of the NHS Confederation

Log In