Statement following Conservative Party conference 2022

6 October 2022

Following Conservative Party conference, James Hallwood, Head of Policy and External Affairs who attended on behalf of the Council of Deans of Health, said:

‘Attending Conservative Party conference was a good opportunity to engage with the new Health and Education teams and explain the crucial work our members do in delivering our healthcare workforce. With a focus on bold plans with long-term benefits on display, the Council will continue to encourage ministers to address the challenges in recruitment and retention in the healthcare education workforce. This is needed to educate the next generation of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals so we encourage action now.

Members will agree that economic growth underpins strong public services but will have concerns at suggested departmental cuts that could impact the delivery of healthcare education. Inflation continues to impact students, staff and universities as our members are expected to continue to deliver the same high-quality education for less money.

The reiterated pledge of 50,000 nurses is a reminder of how much our members are already doing to reach this target. A renewed push on mental health will require a renewed push in educating mental health nurses – and while the Council is also delighted to see paramedics highlighted as a priority we would encourage other letters in the Health Secretary’s ‘ABCD’ of priorities to be remembered.

Newly qualified nurses, midwives and the full spectrum of Allied Health Professions will be essential to getting the NHS through a difficult winter and planning should be put in place to ensure a sustainable future workforce for future winters and years ahead. Embracing technology, revisiting inherited EU regulations and better working between Health and Education departments are all levers the Government can utilise in achieving its aims for healthcare and fulfilling careers for healthcare students across the country’.

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