The recent winter crisis has shone a light on the shortcomings that have crippled the NHS’ ability to deliver the health care it has built a global reputation on. An outbreak of flu, compounded by bad weather, has taken a toll on public health; particularly the growing proportion of elderly citizens. A decade of austerity-driven policy making has weakened the NHS workforce to breaking point. Many health and social care workers are deciding that such demands leave them with little choice but to leave the professions they love in pursuit of careers outside of public service. The winter crisis has brought to the forefront unjustifiable conditions both patients and professionals are being forced to manage in.

On Thursday, May 17, Open Forum Events will be holding NHS Staff: Skills, Retention and Recruitment at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. This event will incorporate the perspectives of policy makers who want to diverge from the status quo of underfunding the NHS, thought-leaders from national health and social care organisations, as well as frontline staff members who understand the clinical application of policy; together, we will construct an actionable approach to supporting the NHS workforce through these demanding times.

The establishment of a National Health Service sits amongst the greatest accomplishments in British history. Despite this, a service free at the point of use based on clinical need above ability to pay is an increasingly difficult concept to preserve in a nation that is governed with growing emphasis on the rule of the market place. Despite the chronic underfunding and infiltration of private providers occupying public sector contractors, there is still a vocal, committed majority who oppose the surgical dissection of the NHS and its workforce.

Presenting to attendees at the NHS Staff: Skills, Retention and Recruitment event will be:

  • Anita Charlesworth, Chief Economist, The Health Foundation
  • Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive, Care England
  • Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chairperson, Keep Our NHS Public campaign group
  • Lucy Powell MP, Member of Parliament for Manchester Central
  • Jim Thomas, Programme Head for Workforce Innovation, Skills for Care
  • Dr Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive, the Queen’s Nursing Institute
  • Michelle Connaughton, Assistant Director of Nursing, Specialist and General Medicine, North Manchester Hospital

This roster of speakers will champion the need for a greater emphasis on the workforce when crafting policy and efficient leadership of health and social care teams in trying times. The agenda will address how to restore the NHS to full health; as well as exploring new approaches and thinking about workforce development across an integrated health and social care sector that has been fragmented and under resourced for too long.

We hope you can join us on May 17 in Manchester as we host a day of discourse that looks to reappraise how, through co-operation and shared values, we can support the NHS workforce through this spell of ill health.