Health CommitteeWritten evidence from University of Cumbria (ETWP 66)


The University of Cumbria welcomes the opportunity to comment upon Health Select Committee Inquiry on Education, Training and Workforce Planning.

Key Themes

1. The right numbers of appropriately qualified and trained healthcare staff (as well as clinical academics and researchers) at national, regional and local levels

This is best addressed by workforce planning and effective partnership with Universities.

2. Training curricula reflect the changing nature of healthcare delivery, including the medico-legal context

Again, partnership working between regulators, service providers and education establishments will address this area.

3. All providers and commissioners of healthcare (both NHS and non-NHS) play an appropriate part in developing the future workforce

Effective partnership can assist in this process….between service providers (NHS and non-NHS) and with HEIs. Regular dialogue and monitoring currently exists; there is no reason why this should not continue.

4. Multi-professional and multidisciplinary leadership and accountability (encompassing the full range of healthcare professions, specialties and grades) at all levels

Universities such as Cumbria have effective frameworks for such multi/inter-professional agendas at registration and CPD levels. Further engagement is welcomed between medical and non-medical education. This takes place increasingly in placement settings as well as on university premises. This is monitored through effective governance arrangements between universities and our Health Service commissioners.

5. High and consistent standards of education and training

As a University we have key high-level review and monitoring through the QAA, the SHA, professional and statutory bodies. Our reports are public and there is every opportunity for public scrutiny. User-carer involvement is also welcome.

6. The existing workforce can be developed and re-skilled for the future (through means including post-registration training and CPD)

We have effective liaison with senior education/training managers at regional and local level. There are effective mechanisms for new types of practitioner (eg Advanced and Assistant Practitioners) to be introduced.

7. Open and equitable access to all careers in healthcare for all sections of society (by means including flexible career paths)

We are a “widening participation university” with a strong record of engaging students from low-participation neighbourhoods. Assistant practitioner programmes help in this process; ditto foundation degrees and their integration into part-time/work-based learning programmes.

Specific Issues

8. Plan got the transition up to April 2013

We have concerns that universities are not represented on the Network Leadership Groups. Without such engagement it will be difficult to plan effective partnership working.

9. The future of postgraduate deaneries

They have a key role in the Network Groups; however, there is no evidence so far that they relate to broader non-medical education agendas.

10. The future of Health Innovation and Education Clusters

They provide an excellent example of close/partnership working between service education providers. They have provided work “outside the traditional boundaries” of education or research commissioning/funding. Their continuation should be encouraged.

11. The role of the Secretary of State of Health in the new system

Overall accountability.

12. The proposed role, structure, governance and status of HEE

Multi-professional body that will be important for setting national agendas for local networks and for education providers. It is important that registration programmes are commissioned with a national, as well as local, workforce in mind.

13. The proposed role, structure, status, size, composition of Provider Skills Networks/LETBs

Subregional groups are appropriate (eg covering Cumbria and Lancashire). However, the lack of direct university engagement is of concern.

14. How professional regulators, etc will all participate in the formulation and development of curricula

Universities work well with the broad range of stakeholders; we envisage that this will continue under the new structures. However, as in 13 above, the lack of direct involvement in the proposed networks makes such engagement less easy.

15. Implications of a more diverse provider market within the NHS

Already there are arrangements that universities work with such providers. Our work in Social Work/Social Care already provides much engagement with this sector.

16. How the workforce requirements of providers of NHS and non-NHS healthcare will be balanced

Effective planning and engagement by local Networks and HEIs.

17. The role and content of the proposed National Education and Training Outcomes Framework

Education governance arrangements already effective between the Health Service and HEIs. This model is encouraged to be continued and developed in the future.

18. The role of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence

Good quality workforce data.

19. The role of Skills for Health and Skills for Care

These Sector Skills Councils should be merged—they provide valuable advice and some innovative work.

20. The role of NHS Employers

Pay/Conditions of Service.

21. How funding will be protected and distributed in the new system

National and local priorities need to be identified and recognised through future allocation processes. Greater parity between medical and non-medical priorities should be realised. For future protection of the health workforce the needs of universities should be recognised (some degree of stability is required to ensure continuation of the necessary infrastructure to support health care education).

22. How future healthcare workforce needs are being forecast

Enhance workforce planning at local/subregional level as well as the role of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence at national level.

23. Impact of people retiring from, or otherwise leaving, healthcare professions

Good workforce planning should address this.

24. Place of overseas healthcare staff within the workforce

Limited at present due to immigration controls. Few EU students enter health care Professions in the UK.

25. How the new system will relate to healthcare, education and training and workforce planning in other countries of the UK

HEE will need to work with the partner agencies in the other countries. However, as a “Border University” with Scotland we are very mindful of the some of the cross-country issues and need to ensure a parity between English and Scottish frameworks in future.

26. How the public health workforce will be affected by the proposals

Part of the local networks and will act as the main link with local authorities. Health professions will also retain their key health promotion role.

December 2011

Prepared 22nd May 2012