Beating bowel cancer together

NHS publishes long awaited Interim People Plan

Today, NHS Improvement’s Chair, Baroness Dido Harding, published the interim People Plan which sets out their immediate vision for the NHS workforce in 2019/2020 to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Key ambitions of the interim plan include:

  • Making the NHS the best place to work: Making the NHS an employer of excellence – valuing, supporting, developing and investing in their people.
  • Improving leadership culture: Positive, compassionate and improvement focused leadership creates the culture that delivers better care.
  • Prioritiseing urgent action on nursing shortages: There are shortages across a wide range of NHS staff groups. However, the most urgent challenge is the current shortage of nurses.
  • Developing a workforce to deliver 21st century care: Growing overall workforce with a more varied and richer skill mix with new types of roles and different ways of working.
  • Developing a new operating model for workforce: Continuing to work collaboratively and to be clear what needs to be done locally, regionally and nationally, with more people planning activities undertaken by local integrated care systems.
  • Taking immediate action in 2019/20 while a full five-year plan is developed

The full People Plan is not expected to be published until after the Government’s spending review later this year, where health and social care budgets will be decided.  This will be a funded five-year plan and will carry forward and build on the interim recommendations to make improvements across the whole NHS workforce.

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We welcome the broad ambitions of the interim People Plan including aspirations to increase job attractiveness within the NHS and renewed commitment to continued professional development (CPD).

“However, we are hugely disappointed the plan fails to outline measures to address the capacity crisis within endoscopy and pathology units. Once again, we are left waiting for a solution whilst patients face delays to receiving vital life-saving tests for bowel cancer.

“The plan acknowledges that without the necessary workforce growth, the overall vacancy rate in hospital and community health services across the NHS is predicted to increase by a further five per cent (10% in 2018/19 to 15% in 2023/24). The NHS’ ability to recruit and retain sufficient workforce to meet endoscopy and pathology demand is the biggest risk to achieving a sustainable cancer diagnostic service.

“It is vital that the final NHS People Plan includes clear commitments to increase and retain the number of trained endoscopy and pathology staff. It must also be backed with the appropriate funding following the Government’s spending review later this year in order to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.”


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