21 December 2010
Responding to the publication of the White Paper, “Developing the Healthcare Workforce” (in England), Dr Tom Dolphin, Co-Chairman of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said:
“The government’s consultation on the future development of the healthcare workforce in England contains substantial changes to the way education and training for the future medical workforce is run. The current way in which the £5 billion funding of education training is distributed is far from ideal and this consultation has the potential to simplify the process.
“Ensuring that the UK has enough well-trained staff to provide high quality healthcare in difficult economic times will be a major challenge for the NHS, yet the proposals to move away from a co-ordinated UK-wide approach – to a more local system of organising training and education – could threaten national standards and erode the quality of training.
“The pace of change suggested in the consultation is also troubling; with the plan to have new systems and processes in place by 2012, it is difficult to see how there will be enough time to pilot and evaluate changes to the provision of training and education.
“We have to ensure that changes are made with the intention of improving training, rather than just responding to other aspects of NHS reform.
“High quality care in the future depends on getting the workforce numbers and the training right now, and it is critical that whatever new structures are put in place, we involve trainees and the rest of the profession in their development.”
The BMA will consider all the proposals in detail as it develops its response to the consultation.