HR central to NHS strategy

The Government’s shake-up of the NHS will move HR up the agenda in the health service, according to the sector’s personnel body.

Issues such as recruitment, retention, training and work-life balance are central to the overhaul, set out by Health Secretary Alan Milburn last month.

Karen Bell, president of health service personnel body AHHRM, said the plan supports changes HR professionals have been calling for and is an opportunity for them to take the lead.

“Matters surrounding performance management, improving the working lives of staff and change management provide key roles for HR,” she said.

“This is making sure the investment on training and developing people is there. It is emphasising some of the softer issues that HR people have always known are important.”

Spending on staff will bring in an extra 7,500 consultants, 2,000 GPs, 20,000 nurses and 6,500 therapists, the Department of Health says. Over three years £280m will be invested in staff training, and childcare will be a priority.

Consultants’ contracts will be changed to ensure they do most their work in the NHS.

Bell said the plan will increase HR’s workload, but could provide for extra personnel staff, as a fixed percentage of the NHS budget is for management support.

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