NHS calls in the experts to help cure staff shortages

New
teams of experts have been set up to help the NHS recruit the doctors, nurses
and other healthcare staff it needs for the future.

The
new bodies will advise on issues such as how to provide and pay for the
training future staff will need. They will also look at particular conditions,
such as cancer and coronary heart disease, to determine how the workforce can
be developed to combat them.

The
new organisations are the National Workforce Development Board, the Workforce
Numbers Advisory Board and the Care Group Workforce Teams.

Health
minister John Hutton said, "This radical overhaul of workforce planning
arrangements will ensure the NHS recruits the extra staff it needs to improve
the delivery of patient care. We are committed to having 10,000 more doctors
and 20,000 extra nurses working in the NHS by 2005.

"Already
we are making significant progress on this. In the past year, the number of
nurses has increased by 6,310, while the number of NHS doctors has increased by
2,480. But we know much more needs to be done.

"With
these new structures now in place, we must concentrate our efforts on using
them to achieve the fundamental objective: delivery of the right numbers of
staff, with the right skills, in the right locations, and at the right times,
to provide the necessary care for the modern NHS."

By Ben Willmott

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