HSJ reports leak that reveals government fears over 50,000 nurses plan

HSJ has revealed that senior government officials are challenging NHS England’s plans for boosting retention to deliver the prime minister’s target of 50,000 more nurses. The information comes from a leaked email.

The email from the Department of Health and Social Care’s workforce director to NHS England and Improvement’s chief people officer set out “particular concerns” about the “retention delivery plan” for the target, according to HSJ.

The retention of 18,500 nurses is a key part of the government’s plan to increase the total net growth of 50,000 nurses promised in the Conservative election manifesto.

In the leaked comments sent last week, Gavin Larner is reported by HSJ to have told Prerana Issar that a delivery plan on retention, which NHSE has submitted to the DHSC, did not contain “trajectories or milestones”, unlike other plans received.

The HSJ also reported that the email discussed the “stretch target dates for delivery of 50k more nurses”, for which the “main lever” for “early delivery” would be international recruitment, but also asks for proposals to boost other recruitment or retention “if additional measures, including legislation, or resources, not included in the interim plan, were taken into account”. It is not clear what type of legislation is envisaged, although DHSC has indicated it is looking to relax professional training requirements.

Full story in the HSJ, 20 February 2020