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Wales to get new health service workforce planning body, says minister

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Ministers have announced their intention to establish a new body to oversee strategic workforce planning, workforce design and education commissioning for NHS Wales.

Overseen by an impartial board, the new body would deliver a national co-ordinated approach to delivering workforce education and training to meet the specific geographical needs of Wales, said the Welsh government.

“I am confident this is the right approach for Wales”

Vaughan Gething

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said the working title for the new organisation would be Health Education Wales.

The Welsh government noted that it expected the body to be in place by 1 April 2018. The move follows the creation of Health Education England in 2012.

The announcement is the culmination of work taken forward through the Health Professionals Education Investment Review, led by Mr Mel Evans, which was published in April 2015.

It recommended the establishment of a new single body for Wales, bringing together the functions of strategic workforce planning, development and commissioning of health professional education and training.

The move also takes account of the next steps report, undertaken by Professor Robin Williams to scope potential models for consideration prior to final decision being made about timescales for implementation.

Mr Gething said: “The workforce is the beating heart of the NHS in Wales. The new body I’ve announced will create an environment in Wales which builds a culture that supports learning in the working environment, attracting and retaining the best people possible, on a cross Wales basis.

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Vaughan Gething

“I am confident this is the right approach for Wales and I now intend to put arrangements in place to enable Health Education Wales to be delivered,” he said.

”The removal of boundaries between medical and non-medical planning, workforce design and commissioning will provide new opportunities for multi-professional approaches, added Mr Gething in a written statement on the establishment of Health Education Wales.

The government added that establishment of Health Education Wales will have implications for the organisations currently involved in some of the work of the future organisation, including the Wales Deanery and the Workforce Education Development Service of the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership hosted by the Velindre NHS Trust.

The detailed work required to create new organisation will be taken forward in an “inclusive way” and a priority will be to “ensure a dialogue” with those organisations is maintained throughout, said the government.

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