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 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The health workforce and delivering the ambitions in the NHS People Plan - priorities for wellbeing and support, recruitment and retention, and skills and development

Morning, Thursday, 22nd October 2020

Online Conference

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

This conference focuses on the delivery of ambitions in the NHS People Plan and priorities for the health workforce.

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.

Keynote speakers at this conference include: Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer; Anita Charlesworth, Director of Economics and Research, The Health Foundation; Alastair Henderson, Chief Executive, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; Professor Sheona MacLeod, Acting Director of Education and Quality and Executive Medical Director, Health Education England; Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England; and Lucy Warner, Chief Executive, NHS Practitioner Health.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the Interim NHS People Plan - assessing progress on implementation and looking ahead to:
    • how to achieve the aims of improving the NHS as a place of work
    • addressing urgent workforce shortages in nursing
    • modernising care
    • creating workplace environments that encourage speaking up and value staff
  • recruitment, retention and development of staff across the NHS
  • access to support in the areas of mental health resilience - taking into account what has been learned from the COVID-19 crisis
  • improving working cultures, wellbeing, and inclusivity - and diversity at all levels in the workforce
  • use of technology to reduce workload burdens and improve care delivery:
    • digital and remote services, including those developed during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • training and support to ensure that the health workforce can adapt to using them

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
    • facilitating individual development enabling staff to reach their individual potential


  • Funding - including government support for recruitment, training and retention of nurses, GPs and primary care professionals in England - including pharmacists and physiotherapists
  • Campaigns, incentives, and training - including:
    • targeting applicants entering university, changing careers, and already qualified, as well as allied health professionals
    • grants for eligible students on nursing, midwifery and AHP courses
    • more flexible training that takes into account existing qualifications and experience
    • fast-tracking of student doctors, nurses, healthcare students and the recently retired to provide support during the COVID-19 crisis
  • The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill in Parliament, with concerns that proposals around skills and salary may have an adverse impact on the health workforce
  • The impact of COVID-19 on health and social care workforce recruitment in the UK - and internationally, with discussion expect one the potential effectiveness on:

Wellbeing and the COVID-19 pandemic

  • NHS England and NHS Improvement setting out to NHS trusts and foundations the further steps to protect the workforce, including:
    • prioritising testing for NHS staff with symptoms
    • extra testing of non-symptomatic staff where there is an outbreak
    • regular surveillance testing of staff which will be fortnightly or more frequently, depending on local or national epidemiology
  • Creation of the independent NHS Race and Health Observatory to identify and tackle specific health challenges facing patients, communities and NHS staff from BAME backgrounds
  • The Deputy Chief Medical Officer’s warning that the COVID-19 pandemic will trigger significant mental health impact on NHS staff, and the likely need for long-term support for frontline staff
  • The NHS Clinical Leaders Network calling for recommendations on how to enhance workforce mental health resilience and prepare for the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Dealing with the expected surge demand for services after the pandemic as non-COVID-19 routine services and treatments, such as cancer screening, are phased back in


The agenda:

  • Delivering the ambitions in the NHS People Plan
  • Key trends for the NHS workforce
  • The health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic - resilience, protection and wellbeing, and what has been learned for the future
  • Good workforce culture in the NHS - a case study
  • The nursing shortage - incentives, training, and staff retention
  • Recruitment of Allied Health Professionals in the NHS
  • The workforce for the future - valuing support, engagement and skills
  • A more inclusive workforce - promoting diversity, tackling discrimination, and improving representation at all levels in the NHS
  • Enhancing mental health resilience and meeting the wellbeing needs for frontline health workers
  • Providing 21st century care in the NHS - service collaboration, utilising technology, professional development and support
  • The future of the NHS workforce - supporting staff, compassionate leadership, and changes resulting from COVID-19

Policy officials attending:

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

This one seems no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department of Health and Social Care; BEIS; the Cabinet Office; the Health and Safety Executive; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

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 Speaker

Prerana Issar

NHS Chief People Officer

Keynote Speakers

Lucy Warner

Chief Executive, NHS Practitioner Health

Alastair Henderson

Chief Executive, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

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