The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of our NHS more than ever, and in the last week the government has announced two new ways in which it will support our health system and the people who work for it, through life science recruitment with additional university places and launching a scheme to support staff wellbeing.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We have seen more clearly than ever before the heroic efforts of our public workers during this pandemic.” He went on to say: “The fantastic teachers, police officers and NHS workers truly are the pride of the nation and embody the spirit of public duty that every one of us can aspire towards.”
Additional University Places for Nursing
On 29 July it was confirmed by Universities Minister Michelle Donelan that the government has approved over 9,000 additional places at UK universities to help deliver vital services over three important areas of education—science, engineering, and nursing.
Out of the additional 9,000 university places, 5,611 places have been assigned for healthcare courses, with 3,803 of these additional places going specifically to nursing courses.
Michelle Donelan said: “These courses not only deliver some of the best outcomes for students, they will also be integral to driving innovation, helping our public services and building the skills the country needs.”
NHS People Plan for Staff Wellbeing
The government has also announced the new NHS People Plan, which puts the wellbeing of NHS staff at its heart, with a brand new recruitment, retention and support package.
The People Plan builds on innovations driven by NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic and sets out how the NHS can embed them, including practical support on the job, such as there being safe spaces to rest and recuperate on shift, and ‘wellbeing guardians’ to help keep staff physically safe and healthy. It also addresses:
- the rapid assembly of research nurses and clinical trial assistants to recruit patients for the world’s biggest randomised clinical trial
- the surge in volunteers to support those in need
- a new emphasis on flexible working with remote meetings and consultations becoming widespread
“Every single person working in the NHS has contributed to an unprecedented national effort to beat back this virus and save lives,” said Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary. “They have protected us and in return this government will do everything in its power to protect and support them.”
The People Plan will also work together with other initiatives to find and promote positive changes made before and during the pandemic. It could include allowing NHS staff to use secure messaging services like WhatsApp to communicate with patients, so they can benefit from quick access to information.
This would also make it easier to link millions of primary care records to the latest coronavirus data and help the government in the undertaking of the world’s largest research and analysis of Covid-19 risk factors.
For help or advice about life science recruitment, get in touch with us today.