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 recruit 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.
I entirely understand your concern about the need for more staff immediately; it is well-known that it takes years to train healthcare professionals. I am happy to say that there are over 50,000 nurses in training, and the introduction of the new Nursing Degree Apprenticeship and nursing associate roles will significantly bolster the nursing workforce in the short term, as we continue to build an NHS workforce for the future.
As committed to in the Conservative manifesto, nursing students will receive a £5,000 - £8,000 maintenance grant every year during their course to help with the cost of living, which they won't have to pay back. All students will receive at least £5,000, with further funding in regions or disciplines that are struggling to recruit, such as mental health, as well as help with childcare costs.
Further, I was delighted with the Chancellor’s announcement that nurses and midwives will be given a £1,000 training budget to boost morale of frontline staff by helping them to fund their own training. This is an important step to ensure that staff feel well supported and are able to make advances in their own careers.
I support the use of a targeted incentives by the NHS to improve recruitment throughout the country. We must acknowledge that for a long time, there have been many parts of the country which have attracted fewer doctors and nurses, and indeed many other professionals. I believe that NHS England’s Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme is a sensible move which will ensure that all parts of the country receive the talented doctors and nurses they deserve.
I agree that it is important to ensure that all people who work in the NHS are valued and respected for their contributions, regardless of the role they play. That is why I am pleased that the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care have been contributing to an NHS People Plan, designed to ensure that the NHS workforce is well supported and offered clear and fulfilling career and development goals.