The manifesto promises to support the principles of the NHS by providing “the resources it needs and holding it accountable for delivering exceptional care”. As part of efforts to combat severe staff shortages in the NHS, this policy promises to encourage the development of new roles.
The most significant development related to this policy under the current government has been the publication in January 2019 of the NHS Long Term Plan. The plan states that:
“new roles, such as physician associates, nursing associates, AHP (Allied Health Profession) associates and Advanced Clinical Practitioners are an important part of meeting current and future workforce demands”
To that end, the Long Term Plan outlines initiatives to:
- attract and fund physician associates
- continue to invest in the growth of nursing apprenticeships with 7,500 new nursing associates starting in 2019, a 50% increase on 2018
- further develop the national Allied Health Professionals strategy, AHPs into Action
- expand multi-professional credentialing to enable clinicians to develop new capabilities (following the example of Emergency Care Advanced Clinical Practitioners credentialing)
The Long Term Plan is a comprehensive and important planning document. Although NHS England is an arm’s length, independent body, the Department of Health and Social Care is ultimately responsible for strategic planning and funding, so it is fair to see the Long Term Plan as at least in part an achievement of the current government.
It’s too soon to judge the effectiveness of the Long Term Plan in developing the new roles, but given the initiatives outlined, it is possible to demonstrate the “encouragement” of their development. We’re marking this policy as ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we’ll need to see sufficient government funding for the NHS and the projects listed above for the duration of this parliament. Follow this policy for updates.
Dig deeper, get the details
- NHS vacancies a ‘national emergency’ – BBC News
- NHS Long Term Plan – NHS
- Prime Minister sets out 5-year NHS funding plan Gov.uk
- The Government’s mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 – Gov.uk
- Medical associate professions – NHS
- PM speech on the NHS: 18 June 2018 – Gov.uk
- Will physician associates be replacing doctors? BMJ