An ambitious new strategy to simplify the healthcare education and training system, underpinned by strong clinical leadership, was unveiled yesterday by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
The consultation Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce sets out proposals for a new workforce, education and training structure driven by patient need and led by local healthcare providers.
It is intended that the new system will fit with the White Paper reforms so that employers have greater autonomy and accountability for planning and developing the workforce, alongside greater professional ownership of the quality of education and training.
The proposals will allow for:
• Robust workforce planning to ensure sufficient numbers of appropriately skilled healthcare staff in the right areas;
• A flexible workforce that can respond to the needs of local demand;
• Continuous improvement in the quality of education & training of staff aspiring for excellence and innovation for high quality care;
• Transparency across provider funding to ensure value for money and demonstrate the quality of education and training; and
• A diverse workforce that has access to fair education and training as well as opportunities to progress.
Local healthcare provider-led ‘skills networks’ will ensure effective planning and development of the local workforce by working in partnership with education providers, social care providers, Local Authorities and the new Health and Well Being Boards.
A new national body - Health Education England - will also be set up as a statutory board to provide national oversight and support to Public Health England and healthcare providers on workforce planning and the commissioning of education and training.
Health Education England will be a lean and expert organisation that will provide leadership and assurance for issues that cannot be delivered by local provider ‘skills networks’.
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said:
“The way we plan and develop the healthcare workforce will support our White Paper reforms so that it is aligned with GP consortia to commission and provide safe, high quality care.
“It is central to our vision that the healthcare professions provide leadership in ensuring the quality of education and training - so that locally and nationally we can all be confident about the standards being achieved.
“We want to empower healthcare providers to plan and develop their own workforce. They know what services their patients and local communities require – and they know what staff they need to deliver excellent, responsive healthcare.
“It is important that we take into account a wide range of views before we implement any changes. The consultation closes at the end of March 2011 so please get involved.”
Director General of Workforce, Clare Chapman said:
“Greater local freedom for the delivery of healthcare demands new responsibilities for developing the current and future healthcare workforce. This consultation lays out proposals on how this can be achieved and there will be many who will want to make their voices heard and shape the way forward.
“Providers, professions and educators will not shrink from these new responsibilities but will welcome them. We have a long tradition of excellence in the education of healthcare professionals in this country and it is crucial that new arrangements continue this, recognising that a well-trained and flexible workforce is key to delivering the responsive services that our communities want.”
The consultation Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce can be found at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_1 22590