The government has published its Long-Term Workforce Plan and while we welcome the aims of the plan, we are calling on NHS England to show how the proposals will look in practice to support people living with diabetes.
What is the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan?
The NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan lays the roadmap for training and retaining more healthcare professionals, and to reform the NHS to ensure staff can take advantage of new technology.
A total of £2.4 billion of government funding has been pledged up to 2028/29 to support actions set out in the Plan. NHS England is also investing more than £500 million in 2023/24 and 2024/25 on top of education and training budgets.
How will the plan impact diabetes care?
The Plan says that all NHS frontline staff have an important role in supporting people, “including those with long-term conditions such as diabetes”, to improve their health and wellbeing.
One specific example referenced is that the wider health and care workforce will be trained to support care delivery, and take on healthcare tasks where appropriate, such as insulin administration in the community.
The plan also restates the government’s intention to publish a new major conditions strategy that will aim to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of six major conditions, including diabetes.
What we want to see next
The Plan promises expansion of new and existing roles in the NHS workforce which we have called for and we hope will benefit people with diabetes. We will seek involvement in the development of these including:
Expanding the mental health workforce: We welcome the expansion of training places for psychologists and others working in mental health roles
Weight management services: We welcome the promised development of healthy weight coaches and rolling out of training for wider professionals on having sensitive conversations about weight, supporting onward referrals into weight management services
Digital health technologies: We welcome the commitment to investment in digital technologies and infrastructure
Health inequalities: We welcome reference to the role of local health systems as “anchor institutions” which can address inequalities and make a meaningful impact on the long-term health of their communities.
Nikki Joule, Senior Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said:
“The ambition behind the Plan is good and there is much we can welcome, but we will need to see the actions realised. Crucially we will need to see recovery and development of primary care, as well as increased capacity and integration of primary, community and specialist diabetes care and integrated physical and mental health services.”
NHS England says the Plan is intended to be the start of an ongoing programme that becomes an established part of how the NHS plans for, and delivers, its services for patients and the public.
NHS England has said that further engagement will now follow to develop the detail of the actions. We look forward to working with NHS England on the Plan’s implementation.