Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +044 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.

Priorities for the health workforce and key issues for the NHS People Plan

Morning, Thursday, 22nd October 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on priorities for the health workforce and key issues for the NHS People Plan.

It takes place with an intensification of the recruitment drive for health and social care staff - and in the context of unprecedented personal and professional challenges for those working across the NHS in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference is bringing together stakeholders in health care with policymakers to discuss what is needed to strengthen and support the NHS workforce into the future - and next steps for initiatives already in progress.

Areas for discussion include:

  • Implementation of the Interim NHS People Plan - assessing progress and looking ahead to next steps in achieving aims of:
    • improving the NHS as a place of work,
    • addressing urgent workforce shortages in nursing,
    • modernising care, and
    • creating workplace environments that encourage speaking up and value staff.
  • The COVID-19 crisis and what has been learned for the future of the NHS workforce - including in the areas recruitment and the support that will be needed for NHS staff into the future.
  • Recruitment, retention and development of the workforce across the NHS going forward.
  • Improving working cultures, wellbeing, and inclusivity and diversity at all levels in the workforce.
  • Use of technology to reduce workload burdens, and developing care delivery for the future.

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

The NHS People Plan

  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care reaffirming that support for staff is his first priority, supported by the Plan, with key components including:
    • a working environment that is safe, compassionate and caring,
    • support for physical and mental health, and
    • facilitating individual development enabling staff to reach their individual potential.


  • Funding - including support outlined in the Budget to:
    • improve the recruitment, training and retention of nurses in England, with the goal of 50,000 more in the NHS, and
    • recruit, train and improve the retention of up to 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 more primary care professionals in England, including pharmacists and physiotherapists.
  • Campaigns, incentives, and training - including:
    • the We Are The NHS campaign targeting applicants entering university, people changing careers, and already qualified staff, as well as allied health professionals,
    • offer of a £5,000 maintenance grant from this September to eligible students on nursing, midwifery and many allied health professional pre-registration courses, and
    • government considering more flexible training that takes into account existing qualifications and experience for healthcare professionals seeking to become doctors or nurses.
    • the COVID-19 crisis and fast-tracking of student doctors and nurses, as well as healthcare students and those recently retired, to provide support across the workforce;


  • The BMA recently reporting findings that workforce shortages are affecting staff workload, morale and the ability for staff to provide good quality care, and
  • The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic healthcare workers.


The agenda in summary:

  • Key trends for the NHS workforce
  • Delivering the ambitions in the NHS People Plan
  • The health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic - resilience, protection and wellbeing, and what has been learned for the future
  • Recruitment, work culture and wellbeing:
    • best practice in promoting a good workforce culture in the NHS - a case study
    • approaches to the nursing shortage - incentives, training, and staff retention
    • improving the recruitment of Allied health professionals in the NHS
    • developing the workforce for the future - valuing support, engagement and skills
  • A more inclusive workforce - addressing barriers, promoting diversity, tackling discrimination, and improving representation at all levels in the NHS
  • Providing 21st century care in the NHS - technology, professional development, and service collaboration
  • Next steps for the NHS workforce

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, healthcare professionals, and NHS managers, trade unions and professional bodies, human resources and work culture specialists, technology providers, consultants and analysts, legal experts, representatives of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, academics and commentators, charities and user groups, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Prerana Issar

NHS Chief People Officer

Anita Charlesworth

Director of Economics and Research, The Health Foundation

Suzanne Rastrick

Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England

Professor Sheona MacLeod

Acting Director of Education and Quality and Executive Medical Director, Health Education England


Rt Hon the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock


Dr Rinesh Patel

Chair, The Doctors’ Association

Dr Helen Higham

Director, OxSTaR and Consultant Anaesthetist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Josephine Sauvage

Chair, NHS Islington Clinical Commissioning Group