Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Interim NHS People Plan

Members of the SPF were involved in developing the Interim NHS People Plan, which was published 3 June 2019, and met with the new Chief People Officer, Prerana Issar at our strategic group meeting in May.

In relation to the SPF priority areas, the plan includes:

  • actions to address workforce shortages and increase the number of staff, with urgent action on nursing
  • a commitment to make the NHS the best place to work by creating a healthy, more inclusive and compassionate culture, including a focus on tackling violence and bullying
  • a focus on apprenticeships, education, training and professional development
  • an improved work environment for staff, including a focus on work-life balance, flexible working, wellbeing and the freedom to speak up
  • recognition of the vital role of line managers and team leaders in promoting inclusive and positive workplace cultures
  • a leadership compact covering the standards and behaviours leaders can expect of each other
  • the devolution of some workforce, operational and financial planning responsibility to integrated care systems
  • support for every NHS employer to streamline their induction and onboarding processes to reduce duplication and to recognise previous training and skills passported from previous employers.

There will be an engagement exercise over the summer to develop a staff offer setting out explicitly the support staff can expect from the NHS as a modern employer. This will be led at a local level, involving staff and staff side colleagues. From this, a series of commitments will be produced. These commitments will, subject to a consultation, be used to supplement or replace the NHS Constitution and will be incorporated into regulatory frameworks. The SPF welcomes the intent to finally place staff experience alongside finance, access and quality as key measures of accountability for NHS organisations.

A full people plan with detailed and costed actions will follow the Government’s next spending review in which the total investment available for education and training and digital and capital transformation is due to be confirmed. Without this investment some of the work to improve supply will be curtailed.

NHS England/Improvement will work closely with the SPF on the staff offer and throughout the development of the full people plan.

Sarah Gorton, SPF Staff Side Chair said “Working for the NHS can be challenging so it’s good to see a focus on the needs of staff. A supportive workplace is vital to attract new people and retain experienced, hardworking staff.

“Voices from across the health service must be listened to if this plan is to work. Ensuring staff know they’re valued and have the opportunity to advance their skills and careers is one of the key ways to motivate employees. Better access to flexible working would also be a real boost to the lives of staff trying to balance home and work commitments. Measures like these will encourage people to remain part of the NHS.

“These urgently needed changes won’t happen overnight. We must work together in partnership to address the challenges staff face at work and how to resolve them. 

“The Social Partnership Forum will want unions and employers to work together locally on the consultation with staff about how to make the NHS the Best Place to Work." 

Read the Interim NHS People Plan.