Stepping forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England

Health Education England, July 2017

This plan sets out measures to expand the mental health workforce in England and fulfil ambitions to improve mental health services. By 2020 to 2021 local areas will need to create 21,000 new posts in priority growth areas to deliver the improvements in services and support set out in the Five year forward view for mental health.

Reality Check: More mental health staff for the NHS?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there will be 21,000 more nurses, therapists and consultants working in mental health services in England by 2021 | BBC News

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But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has questioned whether there is enough money and how these posts are going to filled. BBC Reality Check looked at who’s likely to be right. We’re talking about England because the running of health services is devolved to the other nations.

The government has pledged to spend an extra £1bn already promised for mental health services in England on the new staff. This is not new money from the Treasury but comes from existing NHS budgets.

Experts from the Nuffield Trust, a think-tank specialising in health policy, say £1bn would be more than enough to fund 21,000 nurses. Although we don’t know how many of the new jobs will be for nurses and how many will be for consultants – and of course their salaries vary widely – it seems the plan is roughly affordable, albeit with money that has to be found from elsewhere in NHS budgets.

But that still leaves the question of whether staff can be recruited to fill the posts in such a short timeframe.

Read the full news story here

The Recruitment, Retention And Return Of Nurses To General Practice Nursing In England

This report, authored by Ipsos MORI, outlines the findings of qualitative research into the drivers and barriers to entry into general practice nursing (GPN) | NHS England

NHS Framework Documant 2008

It finds that the general perception is that general practice is more suitable for older or more experienced nurses. As student placements in general practice are rare, there is a lack of opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the GPN role. The research also highlights the need for greater support for GPNs and the lack of standardisation in pay for GPN roles.

Survey Of Medical Clinical Academic Staffing Levels 2017

This report raises concerns over the falling number of clinical academic staff in UK medical schools | Medical Schools Council 

The new survey shows that the total number of medical clinical academics has seen a 2.1% decline since 2015 and a 4.2% decline since 2010. In a health service of increasing demands, any stagnancy can have real consequences. The survey also shows that the reduction occurs disproportionately at the Senior Lecturer (also known as Reader) level, a 32.9% fall since 2000. This is part of an overall decline in medical clinical academic numbers of 14.3% over the same period.

As part of the survey, medical schools have highlighted problems in recruiting to posts at the Senior Lecturer level. There is concern as to whether there are sufficient numbers at Researcher grade to fill the gap in the future.

The survey also covers areas such as the funding, geographical spread, gender and ethnicity of the clinical academic team. When broken down by specialties, the survey data revealed drops in clinical academic numbers in Psychiatry and Pathology, and increases in Medical Education and Emergency Medicine.

The survey shows a steady increase of clinical academics in General Practice, although it highlights that numbers remain very small in comparison to the wider population of GPs. There is a need for rapid expansion if this important team is to help primary care meet the growing needs of the population.

New figures show an increase in numbers of nurses and midwives leaving the professions

New figures show an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving our register while at the same time, numbers joining have slowed down. This has resulted in an overall reduction in the numbers of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK | NMC

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Image source: Danni Atherton – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Recently public attention has focused on the reducing number of EU nurses and midwives joining our register. But today’s figures show that it is mainly UK nurses and midwives who are leaving the register, resulting in the overall downward trend.

For the first time in recent history the numbers leaving are now outstripping the numbers joining with this trend most pronounced for UK nurses and midwives who make up around 85 per cent of the register. Between 2016 and 2017, 45 per cent more UK registrants left the register than joined it for the first time.

Data also seems to show that more nurses and midwives are leaving the register before retirement age with a noticeable increase in those aged under 40 leaving.

Earlier this month we conducted a survey of more than 4,500 nurses and midwives who left the register over the previous 12 months. Excluding retirement, the top reasons given included working conditions, (including issues such as staffing levels), a change in personal circumstances (such as ill health or caring responsibilities) and a disillusionment with the quality of care provided to patients

Securing a sustainable NHS workforce for the future

A major new programme to drive better staff retention in trusts across England has been launched by NHS Improvement (NHSI).

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With recruitment and retention adding to the huge amount of pressure already facing trusts in England, the regulator hopes the project will reduce the rates of people leaving the NHS workforce by 2020.

Led by NHSI, the programme will support trust leads and staff by providing a series of masterclasses for directors of nursing and HR to discuss ways to reduce staff leaving trusts. The organisation will also work alongside NHS Employers and look into how the current national retention programme can be built on and improved.

Specific, targeted support will also be made available for mental health providers to improve retention rates of staff groups, and a tool designed to help trusts understand why staff leave will be rolled out. A series of guidance through webinars will also be implemented to improve retention rates.

Full details via NHS Improvement

Related article: NHSI to tackle staff retention challenges with new programme | National Health Executive

Women and leadership – (still) more to do

Despite the advances of recent years, two recent reports, Women in finance and Women on boards: 50:50 by 2020, once again draw attention to the problems women still face in obtaining senior leadership positions within the NHS and outside it | The King’s Fund

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Women in finance is about fairness, equality and inclusion for women and men. It is predicated on a desire for gender parity and a balanced workforce because, as the evidence makes clear, this improves culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity. However, the current situation in the financial services sector is quite different; more women than men start out in financial services but many women fail to move up the management scale. This leaves almost all the top jobs in the hands of men. The main reason for this, it appears, is organisational culture.

One study conducted in 2016 across a wide range of employment sectors found that unsupportive workplace cultures still present the most significant barrier to career progress for women. Amazingly this was the case for female respondents in the 20-29 age group as well as for older respondents. Gender inequality and discrimination were reported, as were difficult colleagues and managers, bullying, undervalued work, and women feeling that they have to over-perform simply because they are female. Recommendations following this study included building closer relationships between men and women in the workplace, and the provision of opportunities to discuss gender issues experienced within the organisational culture.