Recognising the challenge and harnessing the potential of the long-term workforce plan
Last week saw the launch of the much-awaited Long-Term Workforce Plan for the NHS. It is evident that the plan has been met with a mixture of relief and anticipation within the sector which is unsurprising given how critical the workforce and people agenda is currently. Our collective challenge now lies in translating its ambitious objectives into tangible and sustainable change – considering the already stretched resources, and the ever-evolving role of systems in the landscape, this is neither an easy ask nor a quick fix!
An essential determinant of the plan’s success lies in our ability to effectively incorporate enabling principles and practices around the train, retain, and reform narrative. This requires a shift in thinking and working practices, as well as fostering true collaboration. It will not be enough to simply do more or work smarter; substantial change is needed to achieve the level of transformation and growth outlined in the plan.
Systems will play a pivotal role as enablers through the delivery of the 10 outcomes-based functions of ‘one workforce’. Activities such as delivering integrated workforce planning, transforming recruitment and retention processes, utilising digital advancements to streamline operations, and redefining the experience of working in a compassionate and inclusive NHS, will serve as fundamental foundations from which the Long-Term Workforce Plan can be effectively implemented.
While sceptics may argue that these principles are not new, I do see a renewed sense of optimism with the Long-Term Workforce Plan providing the validation, direction, and, to some degree, the support necessary to initiate the required changes. It has also reinforced the narrative that true collaboration and the involvement of multiple stakeholders is essential, as highlighted by the promise to co-design the plan’s implementation.
In the coming weeks, MLCSU will release further commentary and support focusing on the three pillars of the plan: Train, Retain, and Reform. This mini-series will provide more detailed insights from our team of experts and set out how we can collaborate with organisations to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented.
Contact for further information:
Adam Burgess-Evans | Deputy Director of People
People and Organisational Development
Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
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