Only by valuing staff can the NHS retain loyalty through a difficult winter

There is going to be a winter crisis. It may only be October, but stories about 'winter pressures in autumn' are stoking expectations nicely. This is a real problem for the government: albeit one it helped to create. The much-trumpeted money for the NHS is only just reaching the front line, yet the public thinks the health service is awash with cash.

Expectations are sky-high.

Given the size of the NHS, the chances of nobody being kept waiting anywhere and no pensioner ending up on a trolley are nil.

The papers are ready to seize on every wait and the Conservatives - polishing their plans for private healthcare - are ready to declare every story a scandal.

The key to averting a genuine crisis, meanwhile, is capacity building - more beds, more seamless transition in and out of hospital. But the key to building capacity is recruiting staff, which therefore puts human resources centre-stage.

Recruting enough staff fast enough to get ready for this winter is a huge task. Perhaps an impossible one. In the long term, it must be hoped that the NHS can translate the plethora of objectives in this week's human resources strategy into an ethos that values every member of staff on every ward and in every community service. That is what is needed to persaude staff to vote with their feet - and keep those feet in the NHS.