The NHS must recognise and embed the vital role of social work in the development of the People Plan
BASW England response to the publication of the Interim NHS People Plan
The NHS Long Term Plan announced £4.5 billion of new investment to fund expanded community multidisciplinary teams aligned with new primary care networks. The professionals within these teams are detailed as GPs, clinical pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, paramedics, physiotherapists, physician associates, podiatrists and social prescribers, together with social care and voluntary sector staff. It is essential that the role of social work is included and promoted given the importance it deserves within any multi -disciplinary community service.
Social Workers are integral to NHS delivery and embedding of the Interim People Plan and are part of the allied professional workforce that support communities within the context of integrated primary and community health services. It is disappointing that the Interim People Plan makes only one reference to the role of social workers in the NHS.
We welcome the commitment in the People Plan to creating a better leadership culture and making the NHS the best place to work and support the key actions, however if we are to truly embed the People Plan, leaders need to recognise the unique and important contribution that social workers and social care staff make to the NHS workforce and integrated multi-disciplinary services, including integrated care systems.
It is important that the NHS leadership culture is underpinned by principles of relationship based practice and co -producing a ‘positive, inclusive, people centred culture’ with the citizens it serves and the multidisciplinary workforce to build the foundation of a new NHS 21st Century service model.
Social workers and social care staff ‘are’ and ‘will continue to be’ key members of the multi-disciplinary workforce focusing on a person-centred practice, leadership, preventative care and working within a local community context of integrated social care primary and community health services.
There needs to be a stronger leadership emphasis in the NHS Long Term Plan and Interim People Plan on the value and integration of social care and health, with clear reference to the fundamental role of social workers and social care workforce.