Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce, From Design to Delivery
(DH 2012) set out changes to the development of the NHS workforce. At a national level Health Education England (HEE) provides strategic direction on workforce planning, training and development alongside enhanced local responsibility for providers who best understand the needs of their workforce and the population they serve.
In 2013 Health Education England (HEE) became fully operational. 13 Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) across the country are authorised to act as a statutory community of HEE. Their role is to improve the education and training outcomes for the workforce in order to best meet the needs of the local population and service providers. Underneath LETBs are Local Education and Training Councils (LETCs) who input the local views into strategic decisions. Membership of each LETC consists of a LETB Chief Executive.
The Education Outcomes Framework (DH 2013) describes five outcome domains which the Secretary of State will monitor delivery of from the new training and development structure. EOF will measure the improvements the new system delivers for: (1) excellent education, (2) competent and capable skills, (3) a flexible workforce receptive to research and innovation, (4) NHS values and behaviours and (5) widening participation. Partnership working across health, education and workforce development is key to its success in delivering improvements for service user outcomes.
The NHS Five Year Forward View (2014) sets out the ambition to work with Health Education England and ensure the NHS workforce has the right skills, values and staff numbers to deliver new, innovative models of care. Existing staff will be developed through training and leadership programmes in order to deliver high quality, flexible care both now and in the future. Attention will also be given to staff terms, conditions, employment arrangements and rewards to high quality care.
Workforce planning in the NHS (Kings Fund in press) identifies current issues such as gaps in workforce composition data held (especially the role played by the independent sector), employers forecasting a reduction in workforce numbers, difficulties in recruitment and an increased use of agency and temporary staff. The report questions whether national opportunities are being fully realised to rebalance supply and demand and provide the right skill-mix for the future NHS workforce.