Will the government's plan to increase NHS personnel succeed

medics in a protest photo

It was announced by Rishi Sunak. a strategy to boost NHS employment. He claims that this will secure the service's long-term future in England. The prime minister's promise is still being questioned, though.

For recruitment, the answer is yes, but there is a condition.   .

For the first five years, the plan is funded; however, it is assumed that subsequent governments will find the funds necessary to fund the required growth in training spaces for the following ten years.

It seems unlikely that a new administration would stifle the expansion of the NHS workforce and the education of thousands more medical professionals.

However, when it comes to government finances, never say never.   .

Although retention will be more difficult, increasing the number of clinical staff to the extent that is anticipated in the plan will eventually benefit patients.

The policies outlined in the plan to raise morale and retain employees appear a little hazy. If the exodus continues at the current rate, recruitment will not be very effective.

Long regarded as the essential twin track strategy for the NHS, recruit and retain.

The plan had adopted the recommendations made by the majority of experts, and health organizations and charities were lining up to applaud it.   .

However, part of the enthusiasm must have been relief that an NHS workforce plan finally existed after there had been no comparable plan for the previous 20 years.

Health think tanks were invited to run the numbers by them because modeling of future patient demand seems reasonable.

NHS workers looking at a hospital roof

A productivity assumption was made. The plan is ambitious, and some of the medical Royal Colleges want to see more specifics, according to their observations.

With employees of other NHS jobs undergoing doctoral training, the concept of medical apprenticeships is radical.

However, it will take some time to figure out how exactly this plan will operate.

The biggest issue at hand is undoubtedly pay.   .

A section on appropriate compensation to entice and motivate the best employees would be included in the workforce plans of the majority of large organizations.   .

That is one thing NHS England's strategy prevents it from doing.

Photograph of medics protesting.
More NHS employees are planning to strike in July, as evidenced by the protests of nurses and doctors in Westminster in July.

Ministers make the decisions regarding NHS pay because it is a government matter. Although the majority of the NHS pay disputes have been resolved, more doctors' strikes are still planned, so the campaign is far from over.

The best way to retain staff, according to health unions, is to raise wages when the cost of living is at its highest.   .

Senior management has been forced to watch from the sidelines and deal with the fallout from walkouts.

Regarding increasing the number of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, the short term answer is no.   .

The expansion of new spaces at medical schools and universities won't start until the autumn of 2024 because training clinical professionals takes several years.

If there aren't enough seasoned medical professionals to dedicate time to conducting the training, implementation could be delayed.

Chart showing nurse and doctor numbers

Over the course of the next year or so, retention programs designed to lower the number of NHS employees quitting may have some impact.

However, patients who are currently impatient from not being able to get a GP appointment or from being on a long waiting list for surgery probably won't notice.

It is admirable to have the training of tens of thousands of healthcare professionals planned out until well after 2030.

With the exception of sporadic time-limited initiatives, there hasn't been anything comparable in recent years.

But how will the rest of the NHS be by then, and will it have been able to cope with the rising costs of illness brought on by an aging populace?

Hospital corridor

How much of a difference will technology and artificial intelligence (AI) make? Will the public continue to support the NHS through taxation?

In other words, the hospitals and clinics where the new staff will work, as well as the computers they will use, lack a long-term investment strategy for buildings and IT.

Maybe the release of a multi-year workforce plan will encourage politicians to develop longer-term plans for health funding and reform that span a decade or more.   .

Do not, however, hold your breath.

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