COVID-19 guidance for NHS workforce leaders


As plans intensify across the health and social care system to respond to the increased demands on services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England and NHS Employers have collated the latest workforce advice into one central resource for workforce leaders in the NHS.

This guidance should be applied in all NHS organisations in England. Due to the exceptional circumstances, usual processes of co-production and iteration have not been possible. The NHS Staff Council Executive trade unions have had input and will be involved in updates of this guidance and emerging positions.

To help human resource directors and workforce leaders across the health system with plans to respond to COVID-19, the resources we have collated deal with the workforce issues that are likely to arise during the current pandemic. This guidance is intended as an additional resource to supplement your local or organisational plans and to help you to deliver them. 

Health and social care will come under significant pressure during the pandemic and will face very high demands for both admission of emergency cases for treatment, including critical care, and access to primary care services. At the same time, health and care staff and their families may also be infected, creating higher than usual sickness absence or caring issues.

This will put significant pressure on resources, including staff. This guidance will help employers protect and support their workforce, use their workforce in the most effective way and enable them to recruit additional support as quickly as possible from returning staff, volunteers and students in training.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly developing situation and this guidance will be updated and supplemented on a regular basis to respond to the situation and provide the support to the workforce community.

COVID-19 communicating with staff

Communicating with staff

Helpful information on how to communicate with your staff around COVID-19.

COVID-19 deploying your workforce

Bringing staff back

Read the latest advice on bringing recently retired staff back into your workforce to help manage COVID-19.

COVID-19 sources of external staffing

Workforce supply and deployment

Information on managing the extra sources of workforce supply mobilised as a result of COVID-19.

COVID-19 collaborative working

Enabling staff movement

Learn more about the actions being taken due to COVID-19 to enable staff movement across the service.

COVID-19 DBS checks and registration

Pre-employment checks and assurance

Read key information about pre-employment checks and organisational preparedness plans regarding indemnity and litigation.

COVID-19 death in service benefits

Life assurance scheme

Details of the new life assurance scheme for NHS and social care staff in England and Wales and the action for employers.

COVID-19 staff terms and conditions

Staff terms and conditions

Understand more about staff terms and conditions at this time, including: pay, annual leave, sickness absence, recording on ESR, self isolation and reprioritising existing work.

COVID-19 partnership working and facilities time

Partnership working and facilities time

Read about the importance of partnership working during this time of pressure on the NHS.

COVID-19 health, safety and wellbeing

Health, safety and wellbeing

Access guidance for supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff.

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