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Blueprint for future training of doctors and other NHS staff

Government’s mandate to Health Education England puts emphasis on need for more GP and community care

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The government has outlined a wide ranging series of measures to improve the training, values and education of all NHS staff in its mandate to the new body responsible for NHS training - Health Education England (HEE).

HEE will receive £5bn to help it deliver the goals, which include half of medical students to become GPs and for GPs to receive more training in mental health and child health.

The mandate aims to improve care for people with dementia and complex needs. It says that 100,000 staff should have foundation level dementia training by March 2014 with plans to extend this further by autumn 2013.

HEE should focus training around the provision of a multidisciplinary workforce able to work in both hospitals and the community. Most importantly there is a target that 50% of medical students will become GPs. In addition, more nurses will be trained in the community, with at least 50% of student nurses doing community placements as part of their training by March 2015.

By autumn 2013, there will be a new five-year workforce plan to ensure the right levels of staffing and training across the health service, which will include mechanisms for encouraging more doctors into emergency medicine to tackle historical workforces. There is also a commitment that sufficient midwives and other maternity staff will be trained to ensure every woman will have personalised one-to-one care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the post-natal period. There will be 4,200 additional health visitors by April 2015;

By March 2015, recruitment to all NHS-funded training is to be based on values and behaviours as well as technical and academic skills. By autumn 2014, there will be a plan to ensure every student who seeks NHS funding for nursing degrees should first serve up to a year as a healthcare assistant, and minimum training standards for healthcare assistants are to be established by spring 2014. This will be followed by the development of postgraduate training for nurses working with older people with complex care needs by September 2014.

More GPs are to receive mandatory training in mental health and children’s health, there will be a timetable for the review of the qualifications required for non-surgical cosmetic procedures this summer, the required number of IAPT (increasing access to psychological therapies) training places commissioned, and more apprenticeships as a route of entry to training for healthcare staff.

Professor Cumming said: “Health Education England exists for one reason and one reason only: to improve the quality of care delivered to patients by focusing on the education, training and development of the current and future workforce. We are here to develop people for health and healthcare. We are responsible for the education, training and personal development of every member of NHS staff and for recruiting for values from our schools and into our universities.

“It costs £70,000 to train a qualified nurse and £500,000 to train a GP. Investing in our current and future workforce is the only way to future-proof the NHS, ensuring that our staff have the flexibility and skills to provide care in the community as we respond to the demands of older patients with more complex needs.”

Announcing the mandate health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “As people are living longer with more complex medical and care needs, so must we ensure that our NHS workforce has the right skills and values to provide more care in the community for older patients as well as to give each and every child the very best start in life. Plans for the future training and recruitment of our NHS will lead to better working lives for staff and better care for patients.”

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