RCoA responds to the Interim NHS People Plan

Published: 03/06/2019

In response to the publication of the Interim NHS People PlanProfessor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

“The Royal College of Anaesthetists welcomes the publication of the Interim NHS People Plan. It is encouraging to see a focus on cultural changes within the NHS, and a commitment to engage with doctors and other front-line healthcare workers in order to become a more compassionate and fair employer.

“As a College we have long-championed the need for a flexible and supportive NHS and have specifically called for a national welfare and morale strategy for NHS staff and action on doctor’s fatigue. We are therefore pleased to see the plan’s pledge to develop a ‘new offer’ and the commitment to staff retention.

“Our senior members tell us that the current pension scheme has made it harder for them to take on additional work commitments to help alleviate workforce pressures. Therefore, we welcome the government’s commitment to bring forward a consultation on a new pension flexibility for senior clinicians.

“This Interim Plan’s commitment to build on the 21st century care model outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan will provide a more co-ordinated, proactive and personalised system of care which has the potential to be transformative for patients and the NHS. It is a key aim of the College to encourage and facilitate multidisciplinary working through perioperative care pathways, looking at the care of the patient from the moment that surgery is contemplated, through to full recovery, to ensure the best possible outcomes and avoid unnecessary readmissions. It would be beneficial for both patients and the NHS to see greater emphasis on integration between secondary and primary care.

“Multidisciplinary teams require adequate resources and it is encouraging to see an acknowledgement of staff shortages. The plan rightly focuses on shortages in nursing, as nurses are a critical part of multi-professional teams. However it is also important that staffing levels are looked at across the whole of the NHS and in particular the social care sector. We have welcomed the government’s commitment to the regulation of Physician Associates (Anaesthesia) but unless this happens quickly, these roles will continue to remain an untapped resource to reduce pressures and increase capacity.

“Ultimately, we know the aim of a truly effective NHS workforce is dependent on collaboration between services and the plan’s focus on a new operating model with an emphasis on integrated care systems, effective senior leadership and data collection echoes many of the College’s recommendations in its submission to the Interim Plan. We look forward to seeing the final People Plan and contributing to the consultation on what patients should expect from the future NHS workforce.”