Our National Workforce Skills Development Unit welcomes the Interim NHS People Plan

11 June 2019

Here at the National Workforce Skills Development Unit (NWSDU) we are excited by the publication this week of the Interim NHS People Plan. The plan sets out a vision for NHS workers to enable them to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan, with a focus on the immediate actions that are needed. We welcome its publication, as the central themes align with work that we have been doing over the last couple of years, and work we will do in the future.

Staff discussing ideas in conference room

Underpinning the ideas and conversations that were crucial to developing our framework Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation are the themes of ‘making the NHS the best place to work’ and ‘improving our leadership culture’. Our framework helps organisations move away from an emphasis on individual resilience and toughness, instead urging them to become supportive and to recognise the challenging nature of the work that NHS staff do every day. Read more about our framework.

It is fantastic to see policy shift in this direction and recognise the impact that stress, burnout, and poor mental health can have on staff. Importantly, our approach contributes to prioritising urgent action on nursing shortages as the framework will help organisations to support, retain and make the most of our nurses.

We are really pleased that our framework supports three of the key objectives of the plan.

By its very nature as a mental health workforce unit, NWSDU has always been a strong advocate for workforce planning being central to NHS planning processes. It is therefore great to see this spelled out explicitly in the developing a new operating model for workforce theme. We have done, and are doing, a number of projects that directly contribute to this. These include:

  • Developing Good Practice in New Workforce Roles, where we have put together a good practice guide for workforce planners developing new roles. This will help people planners at local, regional and national levels ensure roles are fit for purpose and integrate effectively with existing staff.
  • Supporting Promotion of Mental Health Careers, where we are looking at career pathways, training routes and addressing blockages. This will help workforce planners and education commissioners understand and address some of the issues in these careers. It will also be helpful to those seeking a career in mental health as we are planning to develop a blueprint for a career and training map that will be public facing.
  • A primary care mental health competency framework that will assist emerging primary care networks to commission the training they need to best deliver that care. This will also support local health systems to develop five year workforce plans underpinning the interim plan’s chapter on the development of a workforce to deliver 21st century care.

It is so exciting to see so many of our projects align closely with the objectives set out in the people plan. We look forward to realising those objectives.

Read the interim NHS People Plan on the NHS long term plan website.

Read more about NWSDU.

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National Workforce Skills Development Unit (NWSDU)

The NWSDU has been established to meet the workforce challenges in healthcare. The Unit is commissioned by Health Education England to support the...

Workforce stress and the supportive organisation framework launched

A framework for improvement through reflection, curiosity and change.