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Human Resources Policy in the NHS

This topic explains the background to HR policy in the NHS including country specific policy in the UK.

Human Resources Policy in the NHS: Quick Facts
  • Organisations in the NHS are legal entities and, as such, are required as employers to comply with the obligations imposed upon them by employment law. The NHS in England

  • NHS organisations must also operate within the wider NHS and are therefore required to comply with and implement guidance from the relevant health department in the UK. The NHS in England

  • The Department of Health, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health, develops HR guidance for NHS staff working in English NHS organisations. NHS Employers works closely with the Department of Health to set and implement the HR agenda for the NHS in England. The NHS in England

  • In Wales, HR policy and guidance is developed by the Welsh Department for Health and Social Services which acts on behalf of the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales. The NHS in Wales

  • In Scotland, the Scottish Government Health Directorate (SGHD) is responsible for the development and implementation of health and community care policy (including HR policy) and the running of the NHS in Scotland. The SGHD acts on behalf of the Scottish Health Secretary. The NHS in Scotland

  • The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI) in Northern Ireland is responsible for HR policy and acts on behalf of the Northern Irish Health Minister. The NHS in Northern Ireland

  • In England, HR policy is currently focussed on implementing the structural changes under Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, published by the coalition government in July 2010, as well as achieving £20 billion efficiency savings by 2014/15 as required by the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) Agenda. Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS

  • In Wales, Together for Health, A Five Year Vision for the NHS in Wales, is the key document which sets out the strategy for healthcare until 2016. The supporting HR document is called Working Differently — Working Together, A Workforce and Organisational Development Framework. NHS Employment Policy in Wales

  • In Scotland, the strategy for healthcare is called Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan and this is supported by Better Health, Better Care: Planning Tomorrow’s Workforce Today, setting out the workforce strategy and A Force for Improvement, The Workforce Response to Better Health, Better Care. Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan