The NHS Employers organisation today (Tuesday) commented on the report by the NHS Future Forum and the Department of Health’s acceptance of the recommendations looking at the issue of education and training.

Dean Royles, the organisation’s director, supported the continued emphasis on the new arrangements being employer-led, something NHS Employers had argued for. He said: “It’s great to see a strong focus on the role of employers in driving the new system. This has been lacking in the current machinery. This is a real opportunity to link the planning and development of the workforce with local patient needs and future service delivery.”

On the subject of local education and training boards (LETBs), Mr Royles said: “I understand that a pragmatic and timely solution needed to be found for the employment of staff working within LETBs to ensure we are able to retain specialist skills and talent in this complex area. But we need to avoid a one-size-fits-all model and ensure that the governance arrangements for LETBs enable creativity and innovation and enable decision making at a local level, ensuring the needs of local patients are central to the commissioning of education.

“Building early confidence in the new system is essential. Employers will want to see that Health Education England as well as local LETBs are seen to be driven by patient need and employer demand. If this is the case, employers will relish the opportunity for increased involvement. We need to make sure we learn the lessons from Medical Education England and recognise the passion employers have for ensuring a high quality well educated and trained workforce delivering compassionate care to their patients.

“Throughout the work of the Future Forum, employers have stressed the importance of making sure that the needs of the whole workforce, including those of support staff are considered within the new arrangements. It’s a real breakthrough to see specific recommendations to allow national funding to be used to invest in developing all staff. This is essential if we are to create a step change in the way services are delivered.”