Health Education England has published a new strategy to ensure that the NHS has a sustainable supply of educators to support the development of the healthcare workforce.
The Educator Workforce Strategy sets out seven priorities that will lead to sufficient capacity and quality of educators to allow the growth in healthcare workforce that is needed to deliver care, now and in the future. The strategy aims to tackle concerns in the healthcare education sector and from service providers about the capacity of educators to meet the current and future demands for education and training.
The recommendations made in the strategy will be used by the Workforce, Training and Education directorate in the new NHS England to develop, with stakeholders, an implementation plan which will sit alongside the Long Term Workforce Plan for the NHS.
The seven priorities included in the report are:
- The educator workforce must be a key consideration in integrated workforce and service planning
- Establishing and protecting educator time and resources to support the implementation of Integrated Care Board workforce plans
- Introducing career frameworks for educators of all professions
- Supporting the development and wellbeing of educators
- Supporting improvement through defined standards and principles
- Promoting the NHS aspirations to improve equality, diversity and inclusion
- Embedding evolving and innovative models of education
Navina Evans, Chief Executive of Health Education England, said: “Ensuring that we have a strategy in place to develop and nurture the next generation of educators is vital.
“Without educators we do not have a future workforce, so as Health Education England transfers into the new NHS England, we will continue to focus on the priorities set out in this strategy, ensuring that we have the capacity and quality of educators the system needs to continue to grow the healthcare workforce now and in the future.”
Wendy Reid, Executive Medical Director and Director of Education & Quality at Health Education England, said: “We are grateful for the support we received from educators, healthcare education partners and learners in devising this strategy.
“It is crucial, if we are going to create a sustainable plan for educators, that we have the backing of these groups for the whole education and training system to thrive now and in the future.”
Professor Sheona MacLeod, Medical Director, Reform and Professional Development, at Health Education England, said: “We know that demand for NHS services continues to increase and that more staff in training is needed to meet this demand.
“However, to provide the workforce we need for now and the future we need a wealth of excellent educators to pass their knowledge onto the next generation of healthcare staff.
“This strategy is the first step on the journey to making educator roles more attractive propositions for healthcare workers who wish to support others and share their knowledge, skills and experience.”
Professor Patrick Maxwell, Chair of the Medical Schools Council and Dean of the University of Cambridge Medical School, said: “It is excellent that the need to develop highly skilled healthcare educators has been recognised as a vital component of the Long-Term Workforce Plan.
“Planning for the workforce of the future will be successful only if as a country we have produced health professionals with the knowledge and skills to educate the next generation in all aspects of their future roles – delivery of high-quality patient care, lifelong learning and research to push the boundaries of knowledge.”
James Hallwood, Head of Policy and External Affairs for the Council of Deans, said: “The sustainability of the healthcare education workforce underpins the sustainability of the healthcare workforce. Regulatory change, embracing technology, opening up different routes to education can all spur on the quantity and quality of the next generation of healthcare professionals but without the right number of educators in place to teach and inspire we will quickly hit a ceiling to our ambitions.
“The Council of Deans of Health welcomes this strategy as an important step forward in highlighting, and hopefully starting to address, this challenge.”