Building on the NHS Interim People Plan a people action plan has been published by NHSE/I in July 2021.
This Plan sets out actions for the leaders and staff in the short term but hopes to use the principals generated as part of building a sustainable future. It focuses on how staff must look after each other and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as actions to grow and train the workforce, and work together differently to deliver patient care.
Central themes of this report are:
- more staff
- working differently
- compassionate and inclusive culture
The plan sets out actions that employers and systems should take, as well as the actions that NHSEI and HEE will take. The focus is on:
- Looking after staff – with quality health and wellbeing support for everyone.
- Belonging in the NHS – with a particular focus on the discrimination that some staff face.
- New ways of working – capturing innovation, much of it led by NHS staff.
- Growing for the future – how to recruit, train and keep staff and welcome back ex staff who want to return
The six Chapters expand on these themes and provide detailed actions expected. They are heavily influenced by the experience of delivering services during the pandemic.
It is colourfully presented with many photos of NHS staff (though, unfortunately, not any clinical psychologists).
In chapter 5 “Growing for the Future” the importance of expanding psychological services is stressed and increasing clinical psychology training places is included. This is to be welcomed although this is under the banner of mental health services rather than across the healthcare system.
Each local ICS is asked to develop a local People Plan in response to the national plan, to be reviewed by regional and system level People Boards. Employers are also encouraged to devise their own local People Plan and metrics will be developed by September 2020 with the intention to track progress using the NHS Oversight Framework.
The Plan is a further enhancement of the earlier Interim People Plan although still does not capture the importance of psychological services in helping to enable the transformation required.
It is important that Psychologists understand the plan and show locally and nationally how they can contribute to the actions outlined but also to a more deeply psychologically informed NHS.