Following the Queen’s Speech on 10th May, Dr Katerina Kolyva, CEO of the Council of Deans of Health responded:
With 38 bills pending, this Queen’s Speech sets an ambitious programme for this parliamentary term.
Of particular interest to our members will be the Brexit Freedoms Bill which will allow Parliament to move beyond inherited EU law. Since Brexit, we have been clear a key opportunity is moving away from the EU nursing directive for a competency-based approach to educating the future workforce with a more agile approach to regulation. We will watch this closely and make representations on the changes our members need to better deliver the next generation of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. Future trade deals are another plus and an opportunity for new forums in international collaboration and promotion of the UK’s world-leading higher education sector.
The Higher Education Bill, introducing a lifelong learning entitlement, could be transformative – not least as many come to healthcare careers later in life. The Council will continue to engage closely with the Department for Education on this now the post-Augar consultations have closed. We know member institutions will be interested in the progress of legislation on ensuring free speech at university, a laudable aim, but will be keen that any new law is not burdensome.
A new Mental Health Bill will only succeed if it has the healthcare education workforce to deliver the next generation of mental health nurses and we will be keen to ensure it also recognises the mental health challenges healthcare workers face themselves.
All of this comes at a time when cost-of-living challenges face students and educators alike – with more support needed for those entering education and a recognition inflation means our members are expected to deliver the same high quality courses for less. The Council urges Government to recognise and address these issues. Our 102 members, spread across the UK, are in turn keen to play their part in the levelling up agenda driving up skills, supporting local economies and delivering the healthcare workforce our country needs.