One year on: a workforce for the future

Since the publication of the Taskforce Plan, the Interim NHS People Plan has been published, setting out a vision for how the NHS Plan will be delivered by the NHS. NHS England originally intended to publish its final People Plan alongside the government’s now delayed spending review. We have concerns about the level of detail, and funding commitments, that will appear in the final plan.

In parallel to this national work, England’s health systems have been asked to produce local workforce plans to try and deliver the NHS Plan recommendations. We are fighting the corner for people with lung disease as there are many competing demands on people’s time in the NHS and respiratory disease has, in the past, been short-changed. The Taskforce is there to support and progress these workforce plans as they are developed.

“We have made a tremendous start with many of the Taskforce recommendations being incorporated into NHS England’s Long Term Plan. However, this is just the start. We need to work at pace and with focus as there is much to achieve to make the plans a reality.”

“I am a nurse representative and it is essential that we work together to drive forward the workforce agenda to deliver the right care, at the right time by the right people in the right place. We need a workforce to deliver safe and effective care and currently there are massive gaps as the Taskforce Plan has highlighted. There needs to be the right funding and policy changes to make this possible.”

Wendy Preston, Head of Nursing Practice at RCN, Honorary Consultant Nurse (respiratory)

The British Thoracic Society (BTS), a Taskforce member, has been preparing a State of the Workforce report in consultation with a broad group of stakeholders, including The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS), The Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS), the BTS’s own Nurse Advisory Group, the Association for Respiratory Technology & Physiology (ARTP), The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACPRC) and pharmacists.

The report, launched in December 2019, reinforces the crucial contribution of respiratory specialist staff to the NHS and patients, and identifies where investment is needed to ensure the respiratory workforce is able to deliver the best care to patients.