Trusts with dangerous staffing levels face NHS Improvement intervention

Health economies and NHS providers’ plans for major workforce changes will be subject to NHS Improvement checks on safety, its chief executive has said.

Jim Mackey told HSJ, in an exclusive interview, in relation to sustainability and transformation plans: “I want some basic assurance and I want to see evidence that what they are planning to do at the end of it is better than what they are doing now. We should be kicking the tyres – that is part of our job.”

His comments follow pressure on trusts to contain the pay bill, and the publication of some STPs, such as Buckingham, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, and Nottinghamshire, which envisage the “reduction of nursing grade input” and more use of “generic support workers”.

Mr Mackey, in his first major interview on workforce, said: “We are having a bit of a regroup on STPs and when we go back in January there will absolutely be conversations to say, ‘show me how this works.’”

He said workforce was not prominent enough in many STPs. More so than finances and emergency department performance, staffing was “the thing that really keeps [NHS leaders] awake at night”, therefore “let’s put it centre stage”, he said.

Full story in HSJ 6 December 2016