RCP responds to publication of Interim NHS People Plan

The RCP has welcomed the publication of the Interim NHS People Plan, saying that this is a step in the right direction for the workforce. However, the Treasury must work to support NHS staff starting with addressing the current challenges around pensions.

The Interim NHS People Plan sets out a vision for those working in the NHS to enable them to deliver commitments outlined in the Long Term Plan. It emphasises the need for a change in culture as well as the importance of great leadership.

In response to the publication, Professor Andrew Goddard, RCP president said: 

The Interim People Plan is a step in the right direction: it clearly recognises that the NHS must adapt to being a modern employer, as shown by its commitment to improving skill mix, embracing new roles and promoting new and more flexible ways of working. The establishment of an advisory group to coproduce the full plan is also a positive step.

But the workforce shortages across the NHS are stark. If we don’t fix the supply challenges, the plan will fail to address the very real pressures facing the NHS.

While the initial focus is rightly on nursing, the plan falls far short of our calculation of the number of medical student places needed. We have called for a doubling of the current number of medical student places: 7,500 rather then 1,000-1,500.

Professor Andrew Goddard, RCP president

While the initial focus is rightly on nursing, the plan falls far short of our calculation of the number of medical student places needed. We have called for a doubling of the current number of medical student places: 7,500 rather then 1,000-1,500.

The disparity between these estimations reiterates the need for a single, reliable source of data about the workforce. Currently there is no agreed national understanding of how many nurses, doctors and other clinicians exist, and without that our projections are only educated guesswork.

The Treasury must now support these commitments to NHS staff. In particular, we need urgent action to stop longstanding doctors being driven out of the workforce due to pension challenges. While it is welcome that the government has recognised the need to address this, any solution must have the support of the profession.

Professor Goddard's blog which discusses the Interim People Plan in further detail.