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Staff wellbeing is central to NHS Workforce Plan’s success

Dr Wen Wang

More needs to be done to tackle staff wellbeing if the government’s NHS Workforce Long Term Plan is to be a success, says a University of Leicester academic.

Dr Wen Wang is an Associate Professor of Human Resources Management who has conducted extensive research on improving productivity and staff wellbeing in the NHS.

Last year, Dr Wang addressed the Health and Social Care Committee and stated that discrimination from both the staff and the public, as well as burnout, were leading factors as to why some NHS staff were leaving the sector.

The Government announced last month a plan to double the number of medical school training places in the UK to 15,000 a year by 2031/32.

It also hopes to increase the number of adult nursing places by 92%, taking the total number of places to 38,000 by 2031/2032.

The Plan has also said that it hopes to ensure that up to 130,000 fewer staff leave the NHS over the next 15 years by improving culture, leadership and wellbeing within the health service.

Dr Wang says that significant improvements need to be made to the NHS staff working environment if the NHS is to meet the targets set in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Dr Wang said: “The long-awaited workforce plan is welcome. However, it needs to have a concrete proposal and adequate support on how to improve staff wellbeing to retain current staff.

“To improve the NHS staff working environment, it requires concrete support from the government, resources and better management to take staff wellbeing seriously, including making staff wellbeing one of the NHS’ Key Performance Indicators.

“This is value for money since burnt-out staff can become ill, which reduces the supply of health workers and increase demand for health care.”