The NHS would be nothing without the staff who work so hard every day, keeping us healthy and caring for us when we need it.
I wholeheartedly support the Government's commitment to building a bigger, better trained NHS workforce. Hundreds of millions of pounds of additional funding will be provided over the next four years, underpinning the training of undergraduate intakes of medical students and nurses and supporting new midwives and allied health professionals.
I also welcome the reaffirming of the Government’s commitment to recruiting 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 new GPs, and 6,000 more primary care professionals in addition to the 7,500 further nurse associates and 20,000 primary care professionals announced previously. These commitments are vital to ensuring our NHS is fit for the long term and I know that progress is already being made in this area.
A number of important steps have been made towards this goal, and I was delighted that nurses and midwives are being given a £1,000 training budget to boost morale of frontline staff by helping them to fund their own training. This is an important way of ensuring that staff feel well supported and are able to make advances in their own careers.
Beyond this, it is essential that we continue to ensure that the NHS provides a fantastic service for users and supports its' employees. I fully support all measures to make the NHS a consistently great place to work, by shaping a modern employment culture, promoting flexibility, wellbeing and career development, and redoubling efforts to address discrimination, violence, bullying and harassment. I know that the Workforce Implementation Plan provides an opportunity to work with staff, employers and trade unions to achieve this; the NHS People Plan, published in 2020, underlines the vital importance of physical and mental health and wellbeing, managed through workload, work-life balance, flexible working, managing unpaid caring responsibilities, and improving the working environment.
One measure that is particularly encouraging is that, in the past decade, the clinical radiology workforce has increased by 48 per cent, from 3,239 to 4,797 full-time equivalent posts. While this is a significant percentage increase, I know that the Government recognises that more can be done to increase the profession and build on this progress.
It is important to ensure that all people who work in the NHS are valued and respected regardless of the role they play. That is why I am pleased that the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care have published an NHS People Plan, designed to ensure that the NHS workforce is well supported and offered clear and fulfilling career and development goals.