A welcome focus on workforce challenges, but NHS leaders are working with one hand tied behind their backs Health Foundation response to Interim NHS People Plan

3 June 2019

Commenting on the announcement of the Interim NHS People PlanAnita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:

'The new NHS people plan correctly identifies the key workforce challenges facing the NHS and it is clear that health service leaders recognise that staffing shortages are the make or break issue for the NHS. Particularly welcome is the focus on making the NHS a better place to work, developing compassionate, inclusive leadership and rapidly increasing the number of nurses. The commitment to engaging with staff to better understand the issues that matter to them, such as flexibility and development, and making clearer the 'offer' in these areas, is very positive to see.

'But it is clear that NHS leaders are operating with one hand tied behind their backs as decisions on critical issues such as pension reform, investment in training and development and financial support for student nurses are delayed by central government. And restrictive migration policies will only act as a further barrier to addressing the workforce crisis. Without at least 5,000 nurses from abroad each year NHS staffing shortages will increase. This puts the laudable ambitions to improve care set out in the NHS long term plan at risk.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
simon.perry@health.org.uk
020 7257 2093

Further reading

Research report

Closing the gap

March 2019

Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. This report sets out a series of policy...

Research report

A critical moment

February 2019

Our third annual report analysing the staff profile and trends in the NHS workforce in England in...

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