Speaking at the NHE365 Staff Wellbeing & Welfare event, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Confederation, Danny Mortimer, explained the importance of ensuring that we are proportionate in how we aim to rebuild services.
The pandemic has put the health service under significant pressure, with mounting patient treatment backlogs, growing mental health demand, heavily impacted care and noticeable staff fatigue.
As such, while it is essential that we continue to push forward and rebuild non-Covid services once more to help overcome this backlog and needs, it must be done in a way which is respectful of the wellbeing and demands being asked of our NHS and healthcare staff.
As Mr Mortimer said during the virtual conference: “It is important to stress that before the pandemic there was enormous pressure on our services and staff.
“Particularly this was due to the large number of vacancies we were carrying. As employers, we must also take responsibilities for difficulties in our workplaces, around race, which existed before.
“The pandemic magnified and exacerbated these challenges, but we have to be honest that these existed long before the pandemic.
“[As we rebuild non-Covid services], we must consider the likes of decompression time for staff. A time for rest and recovery.
“We need to recognise that in these coming months, we must build back our non-Covid services in a proportional way. We must calibrate our expectations around productivity more reasonably.
“I’m old enough to remember when waiting times were as long as this, in the 1990s, and it took us many years and significant investment to get back to where we were.”
And for their part, Mr Mortimer praised the support being put in place by the Government and central NHS organisations, as well as NHS charities and the general public.
Pointing to the work that the likes of Prerana Issar, the NHS’ Chief People Officer, was putting in place, he felt that together people were heading in the right direction. There was just more to be continued and done.
For Mr Mortimer, it was key that there were “leaders at the top of organisations, but also leaders on the ground, who are listening to what people are talking to them about.”