Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Workforce Strategy - for consultation

Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future - A draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027.

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) is pleased with the strong commitment from senior NHS leaders to a co-ordinated and candid approach to workforce issues, reflected in the draft workforce strategy published 13 December 2017.

Partners on the SPF welcome the collaborative way the strategy was produced and that there will be a lengthy consultation period, which will give us the opportunity to fully digest the document and agree a considered SPF response by the deadline of 23 March.

There are specific topics in the strategy which the SPF is keen to be involved in, such as ensuring positive, diverse and inclusive workplace cultures in NHS organisations, where staff are developed to meet their potential and pursue a career in the NHS, not just do a job. Creating positive workplace cultures in the NHS is a central part of our call to action, launched December 2016 and this strategy should enable the co-ordination of our work with other initiatives being undertaken to make the NHS a great place to work.

The strategy highlights the role of leadership and line management and the impact this can have on working environments and staff retention. Through discussions on the strategy we would like to consider how best we can support the aspiration to give line managers the confidence and competence to manage effectively, as this is incredibly important in creating the healthy working environments our NHS staff deserve.

Finally we are keen to emphasise the important role trade unions have in the success of workforce delivery plans for national priority programmes and in STPs and ACSs. Trade unions are key links to the workforce - reflecting potential issues and areas for improvement at a national level and at a regional and local level, representing staff and ensuring their engagement in service change. The SPF in particular, can provide a strong voice for the non-clinical workforce, who are sometimes wrongly, a secondary consideration in discussions on the NHS workforce and system change.

We will build on these points in our SPF consultation response to the strategy to be produced in the new year.

You can read the workforce strategy here.

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers, and employer SPF chair

Sara Gorton, Head of Health, UNISON, and staff side SPF chair