3 June 2019

The new Interim NHS People Plan was launched on Monday 3 June 2019 to address the workforce challenges the health service is currently facing and enable those who work in the NHS to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. 

The interim plan was developed collaboratively with a range of partners from across the NHS, including NHS managers, NHS staff unions, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing, and the British Medical Association. 

Following the government’s next Spending Review, when there is clarity on the investment available for education and training, a five-year People Plan will be published to set out costed action plans, alongside a detailed plan for implementing the NHS Long Term Plan.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said:

While it’s encouraging to see real intent to address the nursing shortages across the NHS, we are very concerned that the steps proposed in the Interim NHS People Plan will not go far enough to solve the enormity of the crisis in the cancer workforce.

The workforce is the backbone of the health service and it is clear the NHS must recruit and train more nurses, including for those with incurable breast cancer, to ensure all cancer patients have access to the care they need. 

The NHS Long Term Plan also made vital commitments to improving the early detection of cancer and increasing breast screening uptake, and it is disappointing that steps to ensure the imaging and diagnostic workforce is staffed to cope with the expected growth in demand have not yet been considered in the interim plan. 

It is now essential the final review sets out clear plans and proposed solutions to tackle the immediate and future challenges facing the NHS workforce. This must be supported by clear funding commitments from the Government to invest in more NHS staff, to ensure we can deliver the ambitious vision for healthcare and enable all patients to receive first-rate care.