A step change for a sustainable NHS workforce: General Election 2024

29 September 2023

The Council of Deans of Health is pleased to share A step change for a sustainable NHS workforce: General Election 2024 . The two-page paper highlights our four key policy priorities for the political parties and candidates ahead of the upcoming General Election.

Our 105 members, which educate the vast majority of the UK’s student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, have fed into the development of this work for almost a year.

Building on this extensive engagement with members, our strategic policy groups and key stakeholders, the Council is calling for a needed step change from a post-2024 election government to deliver the sustainable NHS workforce every political party wants for the UK. The Council is asking parties to commit to:

1. Urgently address the growing shortfall in healthcare educators and researchers
2. Boost healthcare student recruitment and retention as a priority
3. Review the overlapping layers of regulation facing healthcare education
4. Expand and diversify the placements needed for a growth in healthcare students

Underpinning all of these are two key principles:

i. This work must be a joint endeavour between the health and education sectors – led from the top with cross-departmental work and shared responsibility between DHSC and DfE

ii. Universities need to be involved at every stage in discussions and decisions on the NHS workforce they educate, including at local level with their NHS and community partners

In launching the paper, Ed Hughes, CEO of the Council of Deans of Health said:

“With party conference season upon us, this is a timely moment to launch the Council’s policy priorities for the General Election expected next year. Crucial to any party seeking to form a government will be questions around the sustainability of the NHS and how to deliver the growth in the healthcare workforce set out in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. As the parties come together to discuss their approaches, the Council will be ensuring our members’ voices are heard. The four priorities our paper sets out are essential to delivering the sustainable NHS workforce our country needs.”

While the General Election’s focus on health and education will primarily be concerned with the NHS in England, these policies have been informed by members from across the UK and will shape our work in engaging devolved administrations as well as interacting with future devolved elections as well.

The Council will be engaging with all parties in the run-up to the election on behalf of our members and to advocate for the role of universities in the delivery of healthcare education.

Read: CoDH Manifesto Asks

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