Workforce planning demands centralised approach
7 February 2013
National oversight of workforce planning is needed to prevent the over-supply or under-supply of doctors, BMA council chair Mark Porter has told MPs.
MPs on a Commons joint select committee scrutinising the Draft Care and Support Bill focused on the medical workforce implications as part of a wider inquiry into possible improvements to the draft legislation.
Dr Porter said clauses in the draft bill mentioned having sufficient skilled care workers in the local medical workforce, but there should be a focus on matching training numbers to jobs.
He added that there should be a recognition that the process of workforce planning had to take place at a national level and not left to new LETBs (local education and training boards).
In written evidence to the committee, the BMA welcomes the fact that health secretary Jeremy Hunt will have a duty to secure an effective system for the education and training of healthcare workers.
However, it calls for this duty to also include ensuring that England has enough social care workers with the right skills and training.
Centralised approach necessary
Dr Porter told MPs: ‘The bill at present doesn’t talk about matching at all. It talks about sufficient supply. We believe that matching goes beyond having a sufficient supply; it should also incorporate not having an over-supply.’
He added: ‘We should endeavour to make sure that there is a matching between the numbers of people being trained and the professions for which they are being trained, rather than an assumption that this is all about the local sufficient supply of enough trained graduates.’
Academy of Medical Sciences president Professor Sir John Tooke and Royal College of Surgeons of England president Norman Williams, who also appeared at the session, agreed.
Dr Porter, Sir John and Professor Williams suggested that Health Education England could set a national framework to be followed by LETBs, with input from the Centre for Workforce Intelligence and the medical royal colleges.
LETBs are only required to produce education and training plans looking one year ahead, but the BMA says this should be extended over a longer period, with HEE setting priorities over a time-span of at least 10 years.
The BMA’s written evidence also says:
- The government should legislate as soon as possible to set out plans for adult social care and include robust plans for funding the system. Reform is ‘long overdue’
- Doctors leaders strongly support more personalised social care, but have concerns about expense, complexity and adverse effects
- Doctors leaders have produced their principles for a reformed social care system. They say care should be ‘based on need, not on postcode’, and there should be national eligibility criteria and portable assessments. The public should also be told what they will be expected to pay and what they will receive, and there should be closer integration of health and social care.
Story so far: