On the 30th June NHS England published the highly anticipated NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. It’s a doozy of a document, coming in at over 150 pages. Here at Stand we’re wondering: what do these plans mean for public involvement?
In the plan, NHS England details its ambition to train, retain and reform the NHS workforce through a number of government-backed commitments. These include things like expanding training places, incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technological innovations, and to reward staff with better career progression and development opportunities.
A recent report from The Health Foundation found that the NHS is the thing that makes people feel most proud to be British. An alarming number of them though – 75% – fear that the current condition of the NHS means that privatisation and cost-based treatments are inevitable.
There’s a gap between the delivery of high-quality, clinical care that NHS staff are focused on, and the experience of care that patients receive. In the latest British Social Attitudes Survey, overall public satisfaction with the NHS has dropped to 29%, the lowest it’s been since 1983.
This gap, coupled with significant financial pressure and the need for urgent and long-term reform (and a global pandemic to boot), means the importance of engaging and involving the public is greater than ever.
No national or local target acts as a better arbiter of how the NHS is performing than the patient who experiences poor care, and the ambitious approach in the workforce plan will inevitably change who will see, triage, and treat patients in care.
We think it solidifies the need to take a community-centred, preventative approach to the future of healthcare if the NHS is to survive.
To make these new and changing roles and services work for the future of the NHS, it will be more important than ever to ensure the public understands and supports these changes.
As involvement practitioners, we know that patients and service users understand the significant pressure the NHS workforce is under.
The need for workforce reform is widely understood from clinicians to councils, and to patients and the public. The importance of communicating the details of that change, and involving people in it, should now be as important as the change itself.
We know that services work best when they’re co-designed with patients. When they are centred on their needs and designed to provide clinical excellence delivered by a strong workforce.
The Long Term Workforce Plan is a bold strategy to expand and diversify that workforce.
How we make these ambitions a reality is by taking patients with us on the journey, shaped by their lived experiences, and by constantly seeking to improve in providing the best possible care.
Blog by: Jonny Williams