The NHS England’s much-anticipated Long Term Workforce Plan has been launched today, following extensive engagement with the Council, including meetings with the Prime Minister, Health Secretary, CEO of NHS England and ongoing communication with special advisers and officials as well as our colleagues in the Medical Schools Council and Universities UK.
The 15-year plan is extensive in length, scope and ambition – backed by a £2.4bn investment to support initiatives such as almost doubling nursing and midwife student places a year, a 40% rise in nurse associate places over five years and the training of around 150 additional advanced paramedics annually. Alongside this is a commitment to ongoing reform, including in the regulatory space, and using universities to promote retention in the NHS through lifelong learning.
In the coming weeks, the Council will be working with members to explore every detail of the plan. The partnership role our universities have in the implementation of it is crucial, so the Council will be at hand to feedback thoughts to the Government and the NHS.
Our Chair, Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, attended a roundtable at 10 Downing Street earlier this week to help finalise the plans and has issued the following statement:
The Council of Deans of Health welcomes the NHS England’s Long Term Workforce Plan. It is significant in its scope and ambition – a huge expansion in domestic training places, a commitment to regulatory reform, and a boost to the education of roles such as nursing associates.
It is encouraging to see universities explicitly included in this plan. There is no domestic healthcare workforce without a healthcare higher education workforce so it is good to see the plan makes important steps forward in a genuine partnership between our members, the NHS and Government. Furthermore, the ongoing commitment signalled within the plan to the graduate foundations of our professions is welcomed and highlights the significant role for our HEIs in developing the healthcare workforce.
Our members will be essential to increasing the capacity for existing HE routes, growing apprenticeships so many already deliver, and promoting NHS retention via continued professional development and advanced practice.
The Council has been involved at every stage of this plan’s development, engaging at the highest level to ensure our members’ voices were heard and our sector’s challenges were addressed. We are clear on the opportunities that the plan presents.