NHS England urges hospitals to join passport scheme

NHS England is urging hospitals to sign up to its new passport scheme, enabling staff to move more easily between sites

NHS England is urging hospitals to sign up to its new passport scheme which will, hopefully, make it easier for them to move between organisations.

Health leaders claim that the passport system will remove the need for two-day inductions and other administrative processes, making it a faster, more efficient process for workers to care for patients at different sites.

The hope is that staff shortages and patient care will be improved.

Responding to the roll-out of ‘NHS passports’, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:

“This roll-out of passporting arrangements, following successful pilots, is welcome, and a positive step in supporting system working.

“These proposals can help reduce administrative burden on trusts when staff transfer between organisations and allow providers to work together more closely to provide integrated and expert care across a local area.

“Trusts which have led the way on these flexible working initiatives tell us that they have reaped the benefits. Staff passporting schemes can reduce competition among local trusts to recruit staff, build relationships between different partners across a system, give staff opportunities to develop and widen their skillset and support workforce retention.

“It is, however, important that any national framework enables trusts and their system partners to develop local schemes which work for their patient population, their staff and the unique workforce needs of their system.

“As systems are diverse and are at different stages of collaboration and relationship-building, a one-size-fits-all approach may not work for every trust.

“We hope this scheme will be one of many initiatives in the final people plan to help strengthen the offer of support to NHS staff across the country.”

BMA junior doctors committee chair Jeeves Wijesuriya, also welcomed the scheme – but added that inductions shouldn’t be cut too much.

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“The NHS passport will bring about some positive changes, with hospitals across the country struggling to recruit enough frontline staff.

“The new system has the potential to reduce the burden of duplicating paperwork when rotating between hospitals, so staff can concentrate on providing care where it is most needed.

“The BMA has been lobbying for better record-sharing when junior doctors move between employers to remove the significant burden of administration placed on both doctors and administrative staff.

“We have made progress through the Doctors in Training Programme Board, chaired by NHS Improvement, which builds on commitments made in the 2016 ACAS contract agreement.

“Under this new scheme, training and some pre-employment checks, often done by doctors outside of working hours, will be able to follow junior doctors through the system as they rotate through different sites while increasing the roll-out of e-rostering has the potential to improve flexibility, helping to save time and give NHS staff more control over their working lives and improve the work-life balance of trainees.

“However, it is important employers do not use these changes to redeploy staff to unknown areas outside of their training programme at short notice and without agreement – risking our patients safety, training and worsening morale through lack of autonomy.

“Furthermore, the BMA has serious concerns over plans to cut inductions as part of the scheme.

“Inductions are key for patient safety and play an essential part in ensuring that doctors are able to safely practice in new environments.”

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