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NMC response to the publication of the NHS long term plan in England

7 January 2019

Responding to the publication of the NHS long term plan in England, NMC Interim Chief Executive and Registrar, Sue Killen said:

“Increased investment in the NHS is much needed and today’s long term plan for the health service in England, setting out how that extra money will be spent, is a step in the right direction.

“Nurses and midwives are the cornerstone of the NHS and the plan rightly recognises the need for greater investment in people – both in terms of attracting more and retaining those we have. But more detail is needed on how this will be achieved, particularly in relation to ensuring nurses and midwives get the ongoing support, training and development opportunities they need throughout their careers. We know this is key to retaining staff and improving the quality of care.

“The plan also recognises the vital contribution that those trained outside the UK make to our NHS. As part of our commitment to supporting better, safer care, we’re continuing to improve the way we register nurses and midwives to ensure that those with the right skills can join our register in the quickest and most straightforward way possible.

“The plan rightly recognises the need for a step change in the way health and care services are delivered – moving care away from hospitals and into the community. And while the publication of today’s plan is no doubt a step forward, it’s critical that the NHS is not taken in isolation. With over 40,000 nurses on our register working in social care, there is an urgent need for improved integration between the NHS and social care. Ensuring people get the support and care they need, where and when they need it is clearly a priority for the whole health and care system, and the government’s forthcoming social care green paper will be central to this.

“It’s pleasing to see that today’s plan prioritises both mental and physical health, alongside key commitments to enhancing maternity services and safety, preventing illness, improving cancer testing and a smarter use of technology. We also welcome the creation of a new Chief Midwifery Officer role.

“We’ll be working through the detail of the long term plan for the NHS in the coming days and look forward to the publication of the social care green paper and detailed workforce strategy.”

-End-

Notes for editors

1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office on 020 7681 5409 or email media@nmc-uk.org.

2. We’re the independent regulator for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. We hold a register of all the 690,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates who can practise in the UK. Better and safer care for people is at the heart of what we do, supporting the healthcare professionals on our register to deliver the highest standards of care. We make sure nurses, midwives and nursing associate have the skills they need to care for people safely, with integrity, expertise, respect and compassion, from the moment they step into their first job.

3. Learning does not stop the day nurses, midwives and nursing associates qualify. To promote safety and public trust, we require professionals to demonstrate throughout their career that they are committed to learning and developing to keep their skills up to date and improve as practitioners. We want to encourage openness and learning among healthcare professions to improve care and keep the public safe. On the occasions when something goes wrong and people are at risk, we can step in to investigate and take action, giving patients and families a voice as we do so.