Atlantis Medical News

Should Government revisit national responsibilities?

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02 OCT 2019

There is no denying that more focus should be placed on protecting and helping the workforce of the NHS. Barely a week goes by without media headlines of the difficulties faced by NHS staff, and the knock-on effect this has on patients, and the general public.

Therefore, there probably isn’t a surprise in NHS England and NHS Improvement advising the Government to revisit national responsibilities relating to the workforce. These bodies want the Government to ensure that the national duties and responsibilities of the nursing workforce are “sufficiently clear”. There have been calls for the Government to work closely with partners such as the Royal College of Nursing, the RCN.

In recent times, leading unions have run a series of safe staffing campaigns. There has been a petition created calling for more transparent accountability. Everyone is well aware of the financial challenges faced by the NHS, but there are calls for funding to ensure there are enough employees employed by the NHS.

NHS employees need support

When there is a shortfall of healthcare professionals on duty, patients are at risk, and the standard of service falls. While the NHS needs to use their money wisely, there is a need to support healthcare professionals, and to help them work in a safe environment.

The proposal documents state; “We recommend that the Government should now revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties concerning workforce functions are sufficiently clear”.

The proposal features as part of the recommendations made for the NHS Integrated Care Bill. This reform aims to speed up the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan. An engagement process launched in February 2019, and there is hope that different parts of the NHS can work together more efficiently, including working closely with partners.

Accountability matters in all workforces

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive of the RCN, has said the College is happy the NHS has recognised that there needs to be a resolution to the matter of accountability for workforce planning and supply.

Dame Kinnair said; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care. We now hope Government will listen to this message as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England and NHS Improvement engagement process and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in Government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

At Atlantis Medical, we appreciate any additional focus on the plight of nursing staff. While healthcare professionals in the NHS are amongst the most dedicated and committed experts you can find, they are placed under severe pressure every day.

These professionals are placed at risk, for various reasons, and this needs to be changed. Hopefully, it is possible to create a safer working environment for NHS professionals, and over time, this will create a better environment for patients and their loved ones.


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