Parliamentary launch: A Manifesto for Health Education

11 Mar 2015

11 March 2015, 12.15 – 15.00, Dining Room A, Palace of Westminster
Kindly hosted by Andrew George MP, Health Select Committee member

million+ held a successful event in Parliament to mark the launch of A Manifesto for Health Education. The manifesto sets out key principles which the next government must adhere to in order to secure the education and training of the health and social care workforce of the future.

Our host, Andrew George MP, Health Select Committee Member, was joined on the discussion panel by:

• Professor George Holmes, Vice-Chancellor of University of Bolton and million+ Executive member
• Andrew Gwynne MP, Shadow Health Minister
• Joanna Brown, Chief Executive of the College of Podiatry
• Helga Pile, National Officer for Unison

A Manifesto for Health Education calls for the government to commit to a significant increase in investment in education and professional development to improve patient care, deliver innovation and the integration of services. The discussion hit on important issues such as how we can meet regional and local demand for health professionals, how postgraduate and post-qualifying professional development can deliver improvements in patient care, and how further collaboration between universities, health and social care providers and practitioners can support the integration of care services.

Other important points raised included:

• A need for a minimum level of investment for training and development built into staffing budgets.
• The dominance of medicine and nursing in terms of funding and attention needs to be challenged. Currently only medics have funding for training ring-fenced, and a contractual commitment to protected time off for development. This needs to be extended to all parts of the workforce to prevent training and development from being unplanned and piecemeal.
• The need for funding to be stable, certain and sufficient to enable investment in the workforce and progress towards integrated health and social care. There needs to be a clear commitment of funding to training the next generation from initial training to placements to continuing professional development.
• The NHS is now too often asking people to do more for less on account of funding and staffing pressures. This sees more junior, low paid roles such as health care assistants having to take on more responsibilities without reward.
• The support workforce needs far more training. They conduct around 60% of patient care, but only receive around 5% of the training and development budget. Around half of the support workforce wishes to develop their qualifications and move on to other areas of care, but there is limited opportunity to do so.
• The Five Year Forward Plan is the key to integration, so the next generation will need to be trained appropriately from the start of their career. This means removing the silo mentality that can be apparent in trainers as well as providers – Health Education England needs to futureproof the NHS.
• Integration is important, but it needs to be done in a way that continues to value specialisms rather than attempting to make the workforce more generalist.
• Recruiting extra workers is hugely important, but this needs to be done in partnership with universities and other providers. This means breaking down some of the competition and privatisation in the NHS.
• The undergraduate funding changes in 2012 have changed the demographics of applicants to training programmes, which has meant a decline in older recruits who are often the ones more likely to commit long term to working within the NHS.
• More returners to health and social care professions needing to be encouraged which would be a double saving for the NHS – first, they are already trained; second they are in a position to mentor and support new recruits.

A Manifesto for Health Education can be downloaded here.

The event attracted a diverse crowd of politicians, sector professionals, academics and students. We thank all who took part.




Photographs taken by Geoff Wilson Photography.