The must read stories and debate in health policy

A smaller safe space

The Department of Health will not extend plans for a legal safe space during safety investigations to local NHS organisations.

In a consultation response, the DH and health secretary accepted now was not the right time to extend these powers to trusts and other bodies.

The idea behind a safe space is to allow NHS staff to be open with investigators about what led to incidents. The information that would be considered protected includes witness statements, notes and recordings.

Plans to extend the safe space protections to local NHS organisations were criticised last year by experts and patient safety campaigners, who were also supported by HSIB chief investigator Keith Conradi.

On extending safe space to local organisations however, the consultation said the challenge for the NHS was winning people’s trust.

Jeremy Hunt said: “The majority view was that the safe space proposal would be of most use for HSIB in carrying out its investigations… However, there was also concern about allowing NHS trusts, foundation trusts and other providers of NHS funded healthcare to take a safe space approach to their own investigations and that any extension of the safe space principle to local investigations would be premature.”

Generation game

A failure by policymakers to respond to demands of a new generation of doctors could adversely affect the long term sustainability of the NHS workforce, a pay review body has warned.

The government and NHS employers have been warned to adapt their workforce policies for millennials, or “generation Y” – people born between 1980 and 2000.

The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, which advises ministers on pay policy for doctors, warned millennial junior doctors have marked differences in their approach to work and expectations on their employers than previous generations.

Their latest report says: “We have noticed that some of the millennials tend to have a different approach to their careers from their predecessors, valuing, in particular, aspects such as work/life balance, flexibility and variety in the workplace. These issues featured in the background to the junior doctors’ contract dispute.

“The characteristics and behaviours of generation Y will need to be taken into account by employers and policymakers. As millennials will make up a greater proportion of the workforce, it is important that NHS employers react appropriately to ensure that they are able to recruit, retain and motivate this group.”