The government has said it is “extremely sympathetic” to proposed amendments to the health bill that would compel national bodies to promote training for nurses and other healthcare staff.
Labour and crossbench peers have proposed a series of amendments to enshrine education and training duties in legislation. Currently the health bill contains scant reference to either.
The amendments would place a duty on the health secretary to ensure an effective system was in place for the planning and delivery of education and training for the healthcare workforce.
They would also place a duty on the new NHS Commissioning Board to promote education and training. In addition, Health Education England – the body being set up to allocate and oversee training funding – would set minimum training numbers for each profession.
Speaking in a debate last week, health minister Earl Howe said the government was “extremely sympathetic to this group of amendments” – strongly suggesting some aspects are likely to be added to the bill.
“The government has listened carefully and we are persuaded by the intent behind these proposals,” he said, noting their focus on how the new NHS structures could “foster high quality education and training”.
Although he did not specify which of the amendments he was referring to, Nursing Times understands they include the specific duty on education and training for the NHS Commissioning Board. However, they are less likely to include setting minimum training placements.
Baroness Finlay, one of the crossbench peers behind the amendments, told Nursing Times she hoped the proposals would ensure a “commitment” to education and training was embedded “right through the bill” and that “every lever” was being used to ensure training was not neglected.
The government was due to publish separate detailed plans for education and training this autumn but these are now expected early next year.