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News | Thursday, 10th January 2019

Comment: The NHS’s new 10-year plan

Professor Laura Serrant comments on the announcement and concerns around the staffing shortages

Laura serrant
Professor Laura Serrant on Sky News

GPs, mental health and community care will get the biggest funding increases to shift the focus away from hospitals, in the NHS’s new 10-year plan.

Professor Laura Serrant OBE, Head of Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University, appeared on Sky News on Monday (January 7) to discuss the announcement and concerns around the staffing shortages that could undermine the ambitions, with one in 11 posts currently vacant.

Professor Serrant said: “The central and most important part of any health service is the workforce - the ability to attract not only new people to work with in but also to ensure the staff that we do have are supported and actually well resourced.

“The lack of people in post in the NHS is a long-term issue that has happened over a long period. The reasons behind it are complicated. Brexit will obviously have an impact – at present, around 5 per cent of the workforce comes from the EU. We have to ensure that those that have come to work with us from elsewhere can continue to do so. After all, we have a diverse population in the UK and we need a diverse workforce to provide for their needs.

“There are various areas within the NHS and the new long-term plan emphasises the need for health professionals to work outside of hospitals and within the community. This calls for public health and social care work so it is not just about just attracting the right people into the NHS, the plan looks at the wider health economy and the need for health care professional across the board.

“The aging population is another concern and a worldwide challenge. People are living longer and people are living longer with their conditions so that means looking at healthcare and provision in a different way that focuses on living well throughout the whole life span. We do need specialist people who are able to cope with the complexities of an older and aging population as well as the complexities of different areas of health and wellbeing.

“The NHS is still the envy of the world, with world-class people working within it. People are generally happy with the care they receive from individuals and groups of practitioners. It is often the systems, the processes and the delays which cause an anxiety, not the actual care they receive for themselves and for their families.”

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