The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Particular concerns

In the latest installment of the 50,000 more nurses saga, a leak has revealed the government has “particular concerns” around NHS England’s current plans to achieve the lofty ambition.

An email from the Department of Health and Social Care’s workforce director Gavin Larner has set out “particular concerns” to NHSE chief people officer Prerana Issar about the “retention delivery plan”.

Mr Larner described certain sections of the retention piece of project work as “weak” and called for greater clarity in the plan on culture.

He also asked NHSE for proposals to boost other recruitment and retention measures and said this could include “legislation”.

Mr Larner is holding NHSE to account. That is, of course, his job, but does this email suggest hitting the 50,000 target could be problematic if plans aren’t up to scratch?

Two chief executives involved in the NHS People Plan stepped in and defended work already done by Ms Issar to improve the national leadership culture. Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, argued a one-sided concentration on high level trajectories can “distort” positive leadership, while Navina Evans of East London FT stressed retention and recruitment are top priorities.

“It’s going to be tough, but we can do it because we all share a common purpose,” she said — although this recent email may suggest DHSC and NHSE may not be on quite the same page. 

A different experience

Disabled NHS staff are more likely to suffer from bullying, harassment and abuse while feeling they are not treated fairly, figures published this week revealed

The “workforce disability equality standard” — which tracks trusts’ progress against 10 metrics — highlighted significant disparities between the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff on most measures.

For instance, just 39 per cent of disabled respondents feel their organisations value their work compared with 50.3 per cent of their non-disabled colleagues — a gap of 11.3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (26.4 per cent) of disabled staff have experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from colleagues compared with under a fifth (17.2 per cent) of non-disabled staff.

There are other gaps too, such as discrimination from patients or service users, relatives or other members of the public, which is 34 per cent versus 27 per cent. Together, they paint a concerning picture and point to a lot more work needing to be done.