The government has launched a new digital platform for NHS staff to ask it questions and share ideas.
Secretary of State Matt Hancock has set out plans to give 3.1 million health and care staff in England a voice in the day-to-day creation of policy.
The new digital ‘TalkHealthandCare’ platform will allow healthcare staff to post ideas, questions and challenges for government.
The platform will be available on computers, phones and tablets. It will continually update to reflect the views and ideas of staff. It will also include events, forums and webinars for staff across the country.
TalkHealthandCare has been launched following feedback from staff that too often they do not feel valued at work.
Some of the issues that TalkHealthandCare will try and tackle include improving shift patterns and juggling home and work lives, speeding up the use of helpful technologies that cut out paperwork and training and development.
In particular, Hancock has expressed concern about the high number of reports of bullying and harassment. He has reiterated his wish to ensure these issues are not accepted and ‘put in the too difficult pile’.
To help protect paramedics from violence and increase prosecutions, the Department of Health and Social Care announced earlier this year that, as part of a pilot, body cameras would be issued to ambulances and paramedics.
NHS employers are also introducing fast-access systems to speed up access to free mental health support and physiotherapy for their staff.
While NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing more ways to prevent and reduce violence against health and care staff, TalkHealthandCare will seek views on what needs to be done to make staff feel safe and secure at work.
The department is also launching a new workforce panel of staff who the Secretary of State will meet with as a sounding board on issues affecting health and care staff across the country.
“Today I want to start a new form of engagement,” said Hancock, speaking to NHS workers yesterday.
“Like the best organisations, I want to start an open-ended, two-way, frank conversation.
“Today marks the start of that dialogue. A real conversation. And, like a true conversation, it will evolve based on what you say, what you think, and on the changing world of health and care.
“I want us to be realistic yet ambitious in what we can change for the better. And I want this exercise to reflect the real-time concerns and ambitions of the workforce, rather than take a snapshot of how you feel at one point in time.
“Government has never engaged with health and care staff in this way before.
“This is about giving you a voice in the day-to-day creation of policy in government, and giving you somewhere to go with your ideas and questions, somewhere for you to challenge us and, equally, for us to ask something of you.
“Because, if the culture in health and care is really going to change, it will take all of us, working together, to make it happen.”
Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “The celebrations around the NHS 70th anniversary showed again just how much the public value NHS staff.
“Listening to the views of the frontline and understanding what matters to them will help us design a long-term plan that delivers for the public and makes the NHS a great place to work.”