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Monday, 10 September 2018

Millions of NHS workforce invited to take part in largest ever engagement exercise

Written by Harriet Line

NHS staff will be asked what needs to be done to make them feel safe and secure at work in the largest ever health and care engagement exercise.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will use a speech at Southmead Hospital in Bristol on Monday to announce plans to give all 3.1 million health and care workers in England a voice in the creation of policy.

He is launching a new digital platform called TalkHealthandCare, designed so staff can post ideas, questions and challenges for the Government via their mobile phones and tablets.

Mr Hancock (pictured) will say: "Millions of hard-working health and care staff turn up to work every day to meet any challenges tirelessly, with unending compassion. But they don't just do this for money or other contract benefits. They do it to improve and save the lives of countless strangers, and in return it's only right that they are valued, supported and developed.

"But too often health and care employers, despite the NHS being the world's fifth largest employer, don't get this right. It's time we hear from health and care staff about what they really have to say about the jobs that are at the heart of this country."

He will add: "Nobody knows what needs improving more than hard-working staff themselves, so my message is clear: we are listening to you, we want your views, and we will use them to ensure the long-term plan for the NHS helps you."

Mr Hancock is also expected to thank hospital staff from "the bottom of my heart" for saving the life of his sister, Emily Gilruth, who spent a week in a coma following a riding accident last year.

Dr Ruth May, executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, welcomed the launch of the online tool, saying it would "help the NHS listen to and support its staff, so that they feel happy, healthy, safe and valued".

Sean O'Sullivan, head of health and social policy at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "We welcome any initiative to get the views of midwives and NHS staff.

"They will often have solutions to problems they face and ideas for delivering safer and better care. What is important is that this is a real exercise in engaging with staff and that the Government act on what staff tell them."

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said the celebrations for the NHS 70th anniversary showed how much the public valued NHS staff, adding: "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."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kirsty O'Connor / PA Wire.