NHS Employers welcomes Five-Year Forward View

Group of hospital staff

23 / 10 / 2014 11.14am

NHS England’s Five-year forward view, published on 23 October, sets out actions that need to be taken to ensure transformed care for patients and to avoid a growing health and care quality gap. It is a vision for how the NHS can continue to provide the care within available resources and how, by taking the proposed steps, it argues the future of the NHS can be sustained.

The view outlines seven models for service provision, which NHS England want local areas to choose from, and actions that need to be taken on four fronts, which include and address workforce issues among them:

• More needs to be done to tackle the root causes of ill health, including action on obesity, alcohol and other major health risks.
• A commitment to giving patients more control of their own care, including the option of combining health and social care, and new support for carers and volunteers.
• The NHS must change to meet the needs of a population that lives longer. This means removing the boundaries between family doctors and hospitals, between physical and mental health and between health and social care. New models of care are set out, built around the needs of patients.
• Actions need to be taken to develop and deliver the new models of care, including greater alignment between the national NHS bodies to provide meaningful local flexibility in the way that payment, rules and regulatory requirements are applied. It proposes more investment in workforce, technology and innovation.

Modern workforce

The forward view supports a modern workforce, stating that the innovative new care models that NHS England proposes “simply won’t become a reality” unless the NHS has a workforce with the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours to deliver it.

Emphasis is given to the NHS becoming a better employer, by supporting the health and wellbeing of frontline staff; providing safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory opportunities; supporting employees to raise concerns, and ensuring managers quickly act on them.

Healthy employer

Continuing the theme of health and wellbeing, NHS England calls for action to ensure the NHS is an example of a healthy employer and suggest incentives to support this, including:

• cutting access to unhealthy products on NHS premises
• providing healthy options for night staff
• supporting ‘active travel’ schemes for staff and visitors.

Welcoming the forward view in a joint statement, Gill Bellord, NHS Employers’ director of employment services and reward, said:

“This is a positive programme that can help local services to adapt and plan their care in ways that are best for patients.

“We welcome further development around its call for new incentives to support better health and wellbeing, and strongly support this in principle. Effective wellbeing programmes are expanding rapidly in the NHS but aren’t always prominent enough in board-level planning. There is a lot of good work in the NHS around staff health and wellbeing and this is an area where we can - and should - act as an example for employers in other sectors.

“NHS Employers looks forward to working with NHS England on this programme.”

Other areas of interest for employers:

• calls for the NHS to seek to ensure that pay levels do not fall behind those in the private sector
• calls for employers to ensure that they are ensuring fair representation of BME staff at all levels
• tackling stigma around mental health
• providing support for staff with caring responsibilities
• recognising and expanding the role of volunteers to provide care.
• Health Education England to address gaps and identify education and training needs
• investment in CPD to equip staff with the skills and flexibility to deliver new models of care
• the Shape of Training Review and Shape of Care Review to also help address this
• investment in the primary care workforce:
    o expand as fast as possible the number of GPs in training
    o training more community nurses and other primary care staff
    o increase investment in new roles, and in returner and retention schemes; ensure current rules are not putting off potential returners.

Details of the forward view's links to the 2015 Challenge, and a link to a detailed brief for NHS Confederation members, is available on the NHS Confederation website.

Read the Five-year forward view in full on the NHS England website.

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