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Coronavirus crisis further delays NHS plans for GP workforce boost

The publication of the NHS People Plan has been delayed until later this year as a result of the Covid-19 healthcare crisis.

NHS England said last week that in an effort to ‘remove routine burdens’ the publication of the workforce plan will be postponed.

The plan on boosting the NHS workforce had already been delayed. 

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s interim NHS People Plan, promised a two-year primary care fellowship programme and initiatives designed to boost GP numbers as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Last week’s letter, from NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens and chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard, outlined actions to be put in place by every part of the NHS in order to re-direct staff and resources.

The letter stated that routine burdens would be removed in order ‘to free you up to devote maximum operational effort to Covid readiness and response.’

It said this would include:

  • ‘Deferring publication of the NHS People Plan and the Clinical Review of Standards recommendations to later this year.
  • Deferring publication of the NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Framework to the Autumn, and recommending you do the same for your local plans.’

NHS England told health service managers these procedures were being put in place because ‘Covid-19 presents the NHS with arguably the greatest challenge it has faced since its creation.’

The current Government has pledged to boost GP numbers by 6,000, although the last Government failed to boost GP numbers by 5,000 during the last five years.