The Health Secretary welcomes 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 patients.
The NHS People Plan published today puts NHS staff wellbeing at its heart with new recruitment, retention and support package. It sets out practical support for wellbeings 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.
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
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.
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.
During the COVID-19 period, professional regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council and General Medical Council have introduced virtual hearings which saves both those being investigated and giving-evidence time. They have also taken a different approach to revalidation which provides more time to supporting patients. Developments like these should be maintained and built upon.
Local systems are being asked to develop their own People Plans alongside social care and public health partners, to ensure that local strategies for recovery and to step services back up have a strong focus on the organisation's people.
A further People Plan will follow, once the forthcoming spending review has confirmed future NHS education and training budgets. The government will shortly publish its Social Care Winter Plan, building on NHS support for the sector during COVID-19, to ensure the system has the support it needs in preparation for winter and potential future outbreaks.
The Prime Minister recently announced a further £3 billion winter funding for the NHS to relieve winter pressures on A&E and provide additional capacity for the NHS to carry out routine treatments and procedures. This is on the top of a record cash funding boost worth £33.9 billion extra by 2023 to 2024.