NHS workforce: we’re not superhuman

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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Six representative organisations are calling for “a public commitment to tackling the longstanding NHS and care workforce problems”.

In a joint statement, the BMA, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, the Royal College of Nursing and UNISON, say this is the way to “repay the dedication of health and care staff” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement sets out a number of issues that need urgent implementation:

  • Wellbeing  

With staff wearied and traumatised from coping with COVID-19 and now facing a huge backlog of work, a sustained and coordinated approach to mental health and wellbeing is essential for the recovery period.

  • Flexible working and at-work facilities

Staff must be valued for their contribution through opportunities for flexible working, improved workplace facilities, reward and benefits.

  • Workforce supply

Staff shortages should be addressed through increased recruitment to training, use of those volunteering to return, better retention practices, and broader international recruitment.

  • New ways of working

Tackling COVID-19 has shown that an array of innovative methods of delivering care and working are effective and can be activated quickly. These positive developments must be captured and built on.

  • Leadership

During the past three months, clinical leadership has gained traction as it has been permitted to deliver long-needed change in the delivery of care. The long-term benefits of this leadership need to be articulated and executed for long-term benefit.

“Representing staff and employers, we are united in believing that tackling these workforce issues is the best recognition of the hard work and dedication of NHS during the pandemic and also will be essential if the NHS is to deliver for its patients in the months and years ahead,” the organisations say.