Education, training and workforce planning. Vol.1, Report, together with formal minutes

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Health Committee
Date of publication
23 May 2012
House of Commons papers, session 2012/13; HC 6
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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The quality, safety, effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare services depend on the availability of sufficient numbers of well-trained and well-motivated staff. The NHS has, therefore, rightly attached a high priority to the education and training of staff. Despite this, however, there is now an urgent requirement for a whole-system review of the education and training of the health and care workforce.

This is made necessary by the consequences of the wider NHS reforms. More substantively, this situation presents a welcome opportunity to address some of the weaknesses of the current arrangements. These are complex, inflexible and unfair, and may be an obstacle to desirable changes in healthcare provision.

The Committee concludes that Government plans to reform education, training and workforce planning in the NHS are unclear and lack crucial detail. Plans to reform handling of the £5billion annual training budget are welcome in principle, but without greater clarity and detail from the Government, coupled with a greater sense of urgency about their implementation, the success of new arrangements is at risk.

The Committee also concludes that:

  • New arrangements for voluntary registration of healthcare assistants are to be welcomed, but in the long run should be replaced by compulsory regulation.
  • More must be done to reconcile reduced working hours for junior doctors with meeting their training needs.
  • The NHS needs to ensure that its training programme will allow it to meet its own staffing needs, although the system should continue to welcome staff who were trained overseas.
  • NHS workforce planning should aim to avoid over-reliance on locum and agency staff, although both will continue to provide necessary flexibility within the system.
  • More detail is needed about how postgraduate medical deaneries will fit into the new system.

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