NHS Interim People Plan


NHS England/Improvement has today (3 June 2019) published the Interim People Plan for the NHS. This has been developed over the last few months and sets an agenda to tackle the range of workforce challenges in the NHS with a particular focus on the actions for this year.

The plan is structured into the following themes, with each theme having a number of immediate actions that need to be taken by NHS organisations to enable the people who work in the NHS to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. Key actions for employers are noted below. 

Make the NHS the best place to work

Paying greater attention to why staff leave the NHS, taking action to retain existing staff and attract more people to join.

  • Develop a new offer for all people working in the NHS, through widespread engagement with our people and staff representatives over the summer of 2019.
  • All local NHS systems and organisations to set out plans to make the NHS the best place to work as part of their NHS Long Term Plan implementation plans, to be updated to reflect the people offer published as part of the full People Plan.

Improve our leadership culture

Addressing how we need to develop and spread a positive inclusive person-centred leadership culture across the NHS, with a clear focus on improvement and advancing equality of opportunity.

  • Undertake system-wide engagement on a new NHS leadership compact that will establish the cultural values and leadership behaviours NHS we expect from NHS leaders together with the support and development leaders should expect in return.

Prioritise urgent action on nursing shortages

Supporting and retaining existing nurses while attracting nurses from abroad and ensuring we make the most of the nurses we already have within our NHS.

  • Deliver a rapid expansion programme to increase clinical placement capacity by 5,000 for September 2019 intakes. Work directly with trust directors of nursing to assess organisational readiness and provide targeted support and resource to develop the infrastructure required to increase placement capacity.

Develop a workforce to deliver 21st century care

Developing a multi-professional and integrated workforce to deliver primary and community healthcare services. While ensuring we have a flexible and adaptive workforce that has more time to provide care.

  • Establish a national programme board to address geographical and specialty shortages in doctors, including staffing models for rural and coastal hospitals and general practice.
  • Support local health systems (STPs/ICSs) to develop five-year workforce plans, as an integral part of service and financial plans, enabling us to understand better the number and mix of roles needed to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan and inform national workforce planning.

Develop a new operating model for workforce

Putting workforce planning at the centre of our planning processes, continuing to work collaboratively with more people planning activities devolved to local integrated care systems (ICSs).

  • Co-produce an ICS maturity framework that benchmarks workforce activities in STPs/ICSs which also informs decisions on the pace and scale of devolution of workforce activities

The plan also includes specific commitments to:

  • increase the number of nursing placements by 5,700
  • increase the number the number of nurse associates to 7,500
  • increase the number of doctors and nurses recruited internationally.
  • work with Mumsnet on a return to the NHS campaign
  • better coordinate overseas recruitment.

NHS Pension Scheme

As part of the theme of making NHS the best place to work, the government is bringing forward a consultation on a new pension flexibility for senior clinicians.The proposal would give senior clinicians the option to halve the rate at which their NHS pension grows, in exchange for halving their contributions to the scheme. This is a positive response to the concerns we have been raising on behalf of employers. However, we also believe the flexibility proposed should be available to support the retention of all members of our workforce and will continue to make that case.

Briefing for boards

We have developed a slide pack with more detail on the plan’s themes and actions, to help you when having discussions with your board. Download the slide pack in full.

Final People Plan

NHS Improvement is continuing to work with all partners to further develop the final People Plan which is scheduled for release later this year, NHS Employers will be part of the process of developing final proposals.


If you are interested in joining the online conversation about the Interim People Plan please follow #OurNHSPeople. 

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