Expert Panel gives Government inadequate rating on core NHS commitments


A Panel of independent experts has evaluated how the Government has progressed overall against seven commitments it has made in three policy areas across the NHS and social care. In its report, the Expert Panel found progress has been “inadequate” in the following areas: planning for the workforce; building a skilled workforce and wellbeing at work, including reducing high rates of bullying in the NHS. 

Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Chair of the Expert Panel says: “We could not give the government any higher than an ‘inadequate’ rating on its overall progress in meeting its own targets set for the NHS and social care workforce. We were unable to rate progress on any of the individual commitments we evaluated as good.

“Rates of bullying in the NHS are far too high, and we found measures to tackle the problem were either inadequate or require improvement.

“Worryingly, our evaluation found that overall progress on all the government commitments we looked at which involved social care, was inadequate.

“In terms of learning how better to support staff, the government has underestimated the complexity of the fragmented delivery model in the social care sector and failed to put a mechanism in place to listen to their views.”


Key findings of the expert panel report

On workforce planning. Experts found no evidence that targets for staff numbers were linked with patient and service need and little evidence of social care workforce planning at a local or national level. According to many stakeholders the Panel heard from, the lack of workforce planning by the government is having a negative impact on recruitment and retention in both sectors.

On building a skilled workforce. Government unable to give a breakdown of spending for social care to demonstrate how the extra £1 billion committed annually was spent on additional social care staff, better infrastructure, technology, and facilities.

Wellbeing at work. Rates of bullying, harassment and abuse in the NHS remain “concerningly high” with more than one in four NHS staff experiencing at least one incident of bullying in the preceding 12 months. NHS estimates that bullying costs over £2 billion a year, however investment in tackling it falls woefully short for the scale of the task.


About the Expert Panel

The Expert Panel is chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Professor of Medical Education at University College London, a consultant physician and rheumatologist at Whittington Health in London, and former President of the Royal College of Physicians.

Core members: Sir Robert Francis QC; Professor John Appleby; Anita Charlesworth; Professor Stephen Peckham. 

Specialist members on workforce: Professor Carol Atkinson, Professor Shereen Hussein, Professor Alison Leary and Professor Jill Manthorpe.

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