The health and social care system in Cheshire and Merseyside is both large and complex, with 18 NHS provider organisations, 55 Primary Care networks (PCNs), nine Places, 12 CCGs and 375 GP practices, as well as a high number of independent care providers.

There are shortages across a range of health and care staff groups including doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, carers, paramedics and dentists. As a region, this has an impact on our ability to provide the best care for our people. As a partnership, we are committed to addressing this.

Our health and care workforce challenges are complex and include:

  • Increased demand
  • Variable workforce supply
  • Aging workforce
  • High levels of sickness absence
  • High levels of turnover
  • National shortages in some specialities
  • Dependence on bank and agency staff.

Recognising hard work of NHS staff

We recognise that the majority of our staff consistently go above and beyond what is required of them – delivering outstanding care for our communities, irrespective of what part of the service they work in. Many of our staff are also carers, and must balance the needs of their families and dependents with the delivery of high quality services in challenging roles.  It’s important that we also acknowledge the work of our volunteers and the faith sector that assist services and patients and support their communities.

However, we know that we face an increasing demand for our services as a result of changes in our local population and that we must also address the significant financial shortages across our health and social care economy.

To do this, we need to transform how we work to provide the best care we can. Our workforce will be at the heart of this transformation; it is our aim to engage and support them through any changes. We will do this in partnership with trade unions and professional organisations, and all of the partners across Cheshire and Merseyside.

We have agreed six things we will improve together to make the best use of our collective workforce in our region:

  • We will make the most of the staff we currently have
  • We will encourage more people to work in health and social care
  • We will make it easier for staff to move around Cheshire and Merseyside to develop their skills, gain exposure to new areas and share their experiences
  • We will ensure that we have systems and processes in place to avoid staff having to repeat training and other recruitment processes, should they move employer
  • We will support the establishment of Primary Care networks
  • We will work with and influence Health Education England to plan, educate and develop our staff of the future.

People Plan for Cheshire and Merseyside

In July 2020, the national NHS People Plan was published, setting out its priorities and focus for the next 12 months and beyond. The plan is clear in its ambition; we need more people working differently, in a compassionate and inclusive culture, including having more people in training and education (who are subsequently recruited to ensure that all our services are appropriately staffed).

The way we work will need to evolve, with staff embracing new working methods in teams, across organisations and sectors, all supported by technology. Most importantly, we must foster a compassionate and inclusive culture by building on the motivation to look after and value our people, also creating a sense of belonging and promoting a more inclusive service and workplace.

In response to this, the Cheshire and Merseyside People Plan demonstrates how we will deliver against these national commitments and hold ourselves to account for transforming and supporting our staff in Cheshire and Merseyside.

NHS People Promise

The NHS People Promise has been developed following feedback from staff on what matters most to them, specifically on what would improve their work experience. In Cheshire and Merseyside, we believe that the People Promise should not just apply to NHS staff – and aspire to adopt this ideology across all health and care organisations.

The People Promise states:

  • We are a team
  • We work flexibly
  • We are always learning
  • We are safe and healthy
  • We each have a voice that counts
  • We are recognised and rewarded
  • We are compassionate and inclusive

Our Commitment

In Cheshire and Merseyside,we are committed to making the People Promise a reality. We will work with all of our partners to ensure that the above statements are reflected in staff experiences and, through the Cheshire and Merseyside People Board, we will monitor staff feedback through: annual staff survey results, analysis of Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES), Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) data, the use of regular feedback from Trade Unions, CQC assessments and analysis of data on turnover and sickness, all as measures of staff satisfaction.

It is our own promise to promote Cheshire and Merseyside as excellent places to work and live, and encourage more members of our community to work in health and social care.