staff – including BAME colleagues and anyone who needs additional support – and take action where needed. This can then be expanded to all staff groups.

Other key actions include ensuring support for BAME staff during the recovery phase and post-COVID, not just in terms of health and wellbeing, but also ensuring their voices are heard; that positive BAME staff role models have high visibility and are represented at all Agenda for Change bands – including very senior managers and board level.

Response Responding to the NHS People Plan, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Our staff are our greatest asset and if any evidence were needed of their dedication and commitment the terrible trauma of this pandemic has provided cast-iron proof of that. It has been a period when so many have performed heroically at a time of unprecedented strain. “It is therefore fitting that this People Plan focuses on a commitment to look after our staff, many of whom are exhausted and now have to face up to the possibility of a gruelling winter. We also welcome the emphasis on tackling the discrimination that some staff can face which is now much to the fore given the disproportionate impact the virus has had on BME staff and the wider BME community. “Recognition of the urgent need to address the safety and experience of ethnic minority staff is key and the fact that the service has carried out risk assessments for around 80% of BME staff is an important first step and a signal of the commitment of NHS organisations to tackle this issue. “But of course, this Plan does not contain new money and so we must regard it as an instalment, not the finished article. The Government must fulfil its pledge to provide a comprehensive and realistic multi-year settlement in the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn – a settlement which supports the ambitions in the Plan to tackle a workforce crisis which everyday places intolerable strains on staff up and down England. “We must also see social care brought

into this process. It was a mistake not to bring together health and social care workforce planning. They need to be considered together and many in social care will justifiably see this as another example of them being left behind.” Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, added: “The plan reinforces the importance of the work employers have undertaken during the pandemic to better focus on the experience and wellbeing of their people, and they will look forward to receiving more support in terms of longer- term investment of capital into facilities and technology to create modernised workplaces, as well as making jobs more doable for our hard-pressed clinical teams through the long awaited plan for social care. “The need to systematically eliminate discrimination in our workplaces is an important challenge to every part of the NHS, national, system and local. Too

The NHS went into the pandemic with a workforce gap of around 100,000 staff, yet the plan does not say how this will be addressed in the medium term. This is particularly concerning at a time when our recruitment of

nurses from abroad has dropped dramatically. Hugh Alderwick, Health Foundation


much talent is denied to our teams and our patients, and the Workforce Race Equality Standard starkly describes the work we all need to do.” Hugh Alderwick, assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation, said: “Some of the measures in the People Plan are positive…But there are glaring omissions. The NHS went into the pandemic with a workforce gap of around 100,000 staff, yet the plan does not say how this will be addressed in the medium term. This is particularly concerning at a time when our recruitment of nurses from abroad has dropped dramatically. “These details are missing because the NHS is still waiting on Government to set out what funding will be available to expand the NHS workforce – without which the NHS cannot recruit and retain the doctors, nurses and other staff it needs.

“While this plan at least provides a stop gap, to help get the NHS through the winter, there is no equivalent plan for social care – a sector suffering from decades of political neglect and the devastating impact of COVID-19 on care users and staff. A comprehensive workforce plan for both the NHS and social care is needed now more than ever.” A further People Plan is expected to be published in late 2020/21 following the Spending Review.

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