The Government is seeking input from health and care staff as it announces a national digital platform so staff can feed back on five ‘key challenges’.
Millions of health and care staff will be part of the biggest health and social care conversation in British history, as the national engagement exercise is launched by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.
The Secretary of State will give a speech to staff at Southmead Hospital Bristol today, where he will meet and thank clinicians for treating his sister last year.
He is expected to set out plans to give all 3.1 million health and care staff in England a voice in the day-to-day creation of policy. His visit to Southmead Hospital follows an earlier one to local care provider, St Monica Trust.
As part of his drive to bring health and care into the 21st century, he is launching a new digital platform called ‘TalkHealthandCare’, which staff can use quickly and easily to post ideas, questions and challenges for Government.
It will be available on phones and tablets, evolving and updating to reflect the views and ideas of staff in real-time. It will also be supported by other events, forums, and webinars for staff across the country.
Matt Hancock is expected to say, 'Millions of hard working health and care staff turn up to work every day to meet any challenges tirelessly, with unending compassion. But they don't just do this for money or other contract benefits. They do it to improve and save the lives of countless strangers, and in return it’s only right that they are valued, supported and developed.
'But too often health and care employers, despite the NHS being the world's fifth largest employer, don’t get this right. It’s time we hear from health and care staff about what they really have to say about the jobs that are at the heart of this country.'
TalkHealthandCare has been launched in recognition of feedback from staff via surveys and other routes, that far too often staff aren’t feeling valued at work. Some of the issues that TalkHealthandCare will be seeking input from health and care staff on are improving shift patterns and juggling home and work lives, speeding up the use of technologies which cut out paperwork, and training and development.
In particular, the Secretary of State has expressed concern about the high number of reports of bullying and harassment, and has reiterated his wish to ensure these issues aren’t accepted and ‘put in the too difficult pile’.
While NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to develop ways to prevent and reduce violence against the workforce, TalkHealthandCare will seek input from health and care staff on what needs to be done to make them feel safe and secure at work.
The Department of Health and Social Care is also launching a Workforce Panel made up of a range of staff, which the Secretary of State will meet with as a personal sounding board on issues affecting health and care staff across the country.
The Secretary of State will add, 'Nobody knows what needs improving more than hard-working staff themselves, so my message is clear: we are listening to you, we want your views, and we will use them to ensure the long-term plan for the NHS helps you.'
Glen Garrod, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said, 'We welcome this consultation exercise to give social care staff a say on shaping future government policy.
'More people work in social care than the NHS and every minute of every day, front line staff make a distinctive, valued and personal contribution to more than a million lives.
'Social care staff deserve recognition and reward for the vital work they do helping to meet people’s needs and enhance their quality of life. They need to be supported in their work and this includes listening and acting on their views because winning the hearts and minds of the workforce is vital to help meet the needs of people requiring care.
'We encourage as many people as possible to engage in this consultation to help provide better care for everyone who needs it.'
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said, 'Social care staff, as well as NHS staff, go above and beyond in their roles day after day and it is vital that we support them in their demanding work to provide high quality care.
'The social care workforce often feels undervalued, both in general but also in comparison with their NHS colleagues, and we hope this consultation will signal a move from the Secretary of State to change that.
'This engagement exercise follows the public debate we are leading on how to provide a long-term solution to funding adult social care to rescue a system at breaking point due to years of underfunding, rising demand and costs for care and support.'