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Delivering the NHS People Plan during the pandemic

The Interim NHS People Plan was launched in 2020, and sets out the system’s approach to resolving historic issues and forging a path for the future: aiming to make the NHS the best place to work, to improve leadership cultures and to deliver a workforce equipped for 21st century care. The People Plan was developed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, but is being delivered by organisations like us – employing more than 4,500 frontline NHS staff.

We are committed to creating an environment that allows our colleagues to bring their best selves to work each day, and looking after our colleagues has never been as important as it has been during a global pandemic. We’ve done this through three channels: focusing on creating a workforce fit for the future, focusing on wellbeing and creating a business where our employees feel the difference.

The Interim People Plan itself aims to:

  • Respond to new challenges and opportunities
  • Look after our people
  • Create belonging in the NHS
  • Introduce new ways of working and delivering care
  • Growing the workforce for the future
  • Support our NHS people for the long term.

In line with these aims, we have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support our colleagues in as many ways as possible. Firstly, we expanded – and are still expanding – our already exceptional wellbeing offer to include one-to-one counselling, weekly update videos from the Senior Leadership Team, financial wellbeing support, ‘wellness’ texts and a personal thank you note to all, with a token of appreciation enclosed.

Through listening to staff, we’re also developing and implementing new ways of working, aimed at giving employees the decision to choose where and when they do their best work. The demand for flexibility has sky-rocketed since the pandemic has given people a taste of what it’s like to be able to effectively balance work and home life. This new way of working will see benefits for our service users, with appointments now available outside of 9 to 5. During the rest of the year, we’ll be using digitally enabled service design and our e-rostering tool to create more flexible working opportunities for all of our employees.

There is also a focus on increasing opportunities for personal development. The Learning Enterprise, our learning and development arm, offers some incredible developmental opportunities for staff. Recently developed new training courses include: record keeping, diabetes awareness, malnutrition and nutritional screening, dignity and privacy, and intramuscular injections.

Looking forward, we will continue to develop new ways to keep staff safe and well, ensuring they always feel cared for. Through innovative service design, the development of new career pathways and entry points and with a focus on inclusion and belonging, we won’t stop until we’ve implemented the NHS People Plan into every aspect of the organisation.

Samantha Kane, Chief People Officer at Virgin Care said, “As partners of the NHS, delivering the People Plan is incredibly important and is fully aligns to our own People Strategy and workforce plans. We are committed to empowering our employees and providing them with the resources and support they need to bring their best selves to work each day, in turn meaning that our service users receive exceptional care.

“At Virgin Care, we believe in empowering, compassionate and values led leadership to create a culture that delivers heartfelt service.”

You can read our report on the NHS People Plan here.

 

Virgin Care
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