This week at conference the Health Secretary announced there will be a 25 per cent increase in the supply of qualified nurses graduating into the NHS workforce, to ensure our NHS will have the staff it needs into the future.
Alongside this, the Government will deliver a new apprenticeship route into nursing for those who want to earn and learn on the job, rather than qualifying through a traditional university degree. To support our existing hardworking NHS staff we will also commit to a new package around flexible working and housing.
Over the next decade our NHS will need to cope with a million more over 75s, along with a major expansion in mental health provision, so we need to boost the supply of qualified nurses. This announcement will ensure we meet that demand head on.
We also need to open up new, more flexible routes into the profession, giving people the chance to learn and qualify on the job. Crucially, this will ensure the NHS remains an engine for social mobility and expanding life chances in Norwich.
Our existing NHS staff are working harder than ever, so a new package of measures will support them, especially those struggling to balance working responsibilities and family commitments.
We will be piloting a new contractual right to flexible working at agreed national rates to make NHS bank working the default, with quick payment and more convenient ways to choose when you work, enabled by new high-tech, modern staff bank systems.
Also a “Homes for Nurses” scheme will be introduced, which would give a new right for NHS workers to have first refusal on affordable housing generated through the sale of surplus NHS land, with the ambition that around 3,000 NHS workers will benefit.
I hope these measures will directly support nurses in Norwich and those who are taking their first steps into this fulfilling profession.