Summary of the NHS Workforce Summit

Daniel Mortimer

08 / 6 / 2015 12.50pm

Dear Colleague

On behalf of Ian Cumming, Charlie Massey and myself, I would like to thank you for attending the inaugural NHS Employers Workforce Summit. The past 12 months have brought the NHS a great number of challenges and opportunities, as well as the Five Year Forward View and a commitment to extra investment. I hope you will agree today’s summit provided all of us with a real opportunity to engage in an open and constructive dialogue on the future of the NHS workforce.

I thought you would find it helpful if I summarised the key questions that we discussed collectively this morning: 

  • How do we improve quality and safety?
  • How do we maximise value from the pay bill?
  • Is there scope for a total reward approach?
  • How do we maintain staff engagement?
  • Are we training the right people in the right way for the future?
  • Have we got the skill mix right?
  • Are new or hybrid roles needed?
  • Have we created career structures for new professions?

Thank you for your honest contributions to the discussion, which raised a lot of very important points about the issues  concerning you as workforce leaders. 

There were four key areas that emerged:

  • A need for coherence between arms-length bodies and with providers of care, with a focus on inputs as well as outputs.  Safer staffing was the most consistent theme of debate and concern.
  • A strong ambition for change in workforce planning, skill mix and better deployment of staff with the nursing associate role as a case study for that ambition.
  • A need for culture change both within the system and in the public’s expectations of the NHS workforce, with the issue of surplus supply being the example discussed.
  • A need to address the challenge of variation between and within organisations around staff experience, as well as pay, reward and contract reform.

I would reinforce my opening remarks about the role of NHS Employers in addressing these challenges and areas:

  • We will give voice to your views and ambitions.
  • We will provide leadership on your behalf.
  • We will support your endeavour.

We hope that you enjoyed the summit, and that it sets the template for future summits and discussions. Don’t forget to save the date for the NHS Employers Autumn Workforce Summit on 13 October 2015 in London. 

Finally, and in response to a number of questions, the silver ‘lipstick’ tube in your delegate pack is a portable charger for your mobile devices…

I know a number of you didn’t get to raise all the issues you wished with Charlie and Ian. If you have any comments or feedback on today’s summit, or any of the issues raised within it, please feel to contact me at 

Best wishes

Daniel Mortimer
Chief Executive, NHS Employers

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