Health service employers have broadly welcomed workforce reforms outlined in Lord Darzi’s plans for the next 10 years of the NHS.
Darzi’s High Quality Workforce report – part of a wide-ranging review of all aspects of the NHS and patient care – said supporting all staff at local level was the main driver for improving services.
Darzi recommended an increase in the number of apprenticeships, making nursing an all-graduate profession and modernising NHS scientific careers to make them more attractive.
Sixty per cent of the staff who will deliver NHS services in 10 years time are already working in healthcare, and Darzi said it was crucial to boost their training and skills.
An NHS draft constitution, out for consultation, sets out the rights and responsibilities of NHS patients, staff and providers.
The report also endorses an employer-driven system of workforce planning – something the NHS has previously failed to tackle well. However, workforce body NHS Employers said it was concerned that the employers’ role was unclear.
Acting director Sian Thomas said: “From the machinery described to support workforce planning it is not clear that the employer role will be central.
“We are concerned that the proposed model risks creating professional silos and under-plays the role of NHS organisations that are best-placed to determine the numbers of different types of trained staff needed.”
Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association Council, said: “There is much here that could bring about improvement – if it can be delivered. That will depend on the details, and on the true engagement of NHS staff in implementing change.
“If they are sidelined, these are little more than fine words and we won’t see the improvements the NHS