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‘Clear commitment’ to investing in people needed

New proposals to join up health and care services must be linked to increased recruitment in the NHS, the RCN has said

New proposals to join up health and care services must be linked to increased recruitment in the NHS, the RCN has said.

The measures, set out in a new white paper by the Government will modernise the legal framework and put in place targeted improvements for the delivery of public health and social care. According to the DHSC, It will support local health and care systems to deliver higher-quality care to their communities, in a way that is less bureaucratic, more accountable and more joined up, by bringing together the NHS, local government and partners together to tackle the needs of their communities.

The RCN welcomed the proposals, but called on the Government to invest in recruitment.

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‘For years, nursing staff have been kept waiting with the promise of a workforce strategy from ministers and the NHS. The absence of one left health and care services tens of thousands of nurses short when facing a pandemic. This workforce strategy must be produced without delay, with legal teeth, to demonstrate a clear commitment to investing in the people who make patient care safe,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair.

‘New NHS structures will need to include senior nurses bringing their expertise and leadership and our members will want that reassurance when the detail is published. Politicians have to be accountable for the NHS but nobody wants that to mean political interference.’

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According to the white paper, NHS staff currently waste a significant amount of time on unnecessary tendering processes for healthcare services. Under today’s proposals, the NHS will only need to tender services when it has the potential to lead to better outcomes for patients. This will mean staff can spend more time on patient care, and local NHS services will have more power to act in the best interests of their communities.

‘The NHS and local government have long been calling for better integration and less burdensome bureaucracy, and this virus has made clear the time for change is now,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

‘These changes will allow us to build back better and bottle the innovation and ingenuity of our brilliant staff during the pandemic, where progress was made despite the legal framework, rather than because of it.’