Supporting our people now and for the long term

This plan sets out the areas where everyone in the NHS has a part to play in making a difference for the rest of 2020/21. The starting point will differ across parts of the NHS. But all of our actions must keep behaviour and culture change at their heart – and there is a strong appetite and need to do things differently.

The Interim People Plan was published in June 2019 when the world, and healthcare, looked very different. However, the central themes – more staff, working differently, in a compassionate and inclusive culture – are just as valid in today’s NHS.

We were already starting to see change emerging. But the arrival of COVID-19 acted as a springboard, bringing about an incredible scale and pace of transformation. It also brought the work that everyone does in the NHS into the spotlight. Key workers have rightly been recognised for the enormous contribution that they make.

The NHS must build on this momentum and continue to transform. The best way to deliver change rapidly is to mobilise a ‘movement for improvement’. To create this, health and care systems across the NHS should engage with their people and employers to develop system people plans that deliver the ambitions set out in the People Plan, recognising that the uncertainty we all face makes this an even more pressing priority. These plans should align with system implementation plans being developed for the next phase of the response to COVID-19.

More work is still needed to increase the number of people in key specialty areas, and to reform the way we educate and train clinicians for a more flexible modern NHS. Further action for 2021/22 and beyond is expected to be set out later in the year, once funding arrangements for future years have been confirmed by the government.

We must sustain our focus and energy to meet the pace and scale of the challenge that is still to come through the next phase of the response to COVID-19 and through the winter period.  The NHS and its partners have shown grit and determination over the last few months. We must now continue to support each other, as we do our best for our patients.

Stay involved in the conversation

Hearing your feedback is crucial. NHS England and NHS Improvement and HEE will continue a programme of engagement, with webinars, discussion groups and roundtables running throughout the rest of this year and beyond on the topics covered in this plan. Find out more about how to get involved at