Specialist hospitals have called for the government to clarify the rights of European Union nationals to remain working in health and social care in the UK, in the wake of the referendum result.
The Federation of Specialist Hospitals has called for improved workforce planning – with a national body given responsibility for addressing existing staffing shortages, including identifying joint solutions. Its report makes a series of recommendations for national bodies.
“The NHS has always been very good at recruiting people from abroad”
Professor Tim Briggs, chair of the federation, said: “It is important that the NHS remains at the forefront of medical advances, ensuring the best clinical outcomes, the best expertise and the best training.”
To do that, it was necessary to recruit the best people from the UK and abroad, said Professor Briggs.
“We wanted to make sure the government is aware of this and that the NHS can continue to attract and employ the very best people… the NHS has always been very good at recruiting people from abroad because of what we have to offer. That needs to continue,” he added.
He stressed the importance of specialist hospitals having a voice as the NHS moved forward, saying specialist hospitals had developed innovative ways of delivering specialist services closer to patients’ homes, often working in conjunction with other hospitals.
The report has been supported by Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England. He said: “Specialist hospitals have an international reputation for high quality training and innovative workforce management.
“This report highlights the valuable contribution that specialist hospitals can make to the further improvement of the NHS workforce and sets out a number of challenges and recommendations, which will repay careful study across the system,” said Professor Cumming.
The report also calls for:
- Department of Health and the arm’s length bodies to “explicitly” consider workforce implications when bringing in policies such as seven-day services
- NHS Improvement and HEE to work with specialist hospitals to identify the cultural and organisational practices that make them good places to work
- HEE to work with specialist hospitals on rolling out workforce innovations and sharing knowledge more widely
- HEE to work with hospitals to encourage multi-professional working, and work to pre-empt staffing challenging in specialties and sub-specialties
Earlier this month, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and the prime minister, Theresa May, were both criticised for their rhetoric around a pledge to increase the number of “home grown” clinicians, particularly doctors, and make the NHS “self-sufficient”.