Integrated care boards (ICBs) will lead in developing local apprenticeship strategies under the long-awaited NHS workforce plan.
Published today (30 June), the long-term plan puts heavy a focus on training new staff, with up to 16% of all training for clinical staff to be offered through apprenticeships by 2028, including more than 850 medical students.
This would include developing a new apprenticeship funding approach that ‘better supports employers with the cost of employing an apprentice’.
To this end, NHS England said it would support ICBs in developing their strategies to grow their own staff, address their workforce shortfalls and to maximise the changes to funding.
NHS England said in the report: ‘Local strategies would support quality apprenticeship programmes targeted at specific occupational shortages and skills gaps, and transformation across primary, community, mental health and acute care.
‘System-level working would help employers engage their local population, schools and colleges to improve access to apprenticeship programmes and maximise innovative approaches to delivery.’
ICBs’ workforce priorities will need to be set out in five-year joint forward plans, produced with their partner trusts, NHS England also said.
These forward plans will outline steps that must be taken to provide the necessary workforce and services to meet the population’s physical and mental health over the next five years.
They will serve as the ‘shared delivery plan’ for an ICS’ integrated care strategy, and will involve local authorities and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.
These plans must also include evidence-based policies to support staff who experience domestic abuse and sexual violence (DASV), which will include appointing a DASV lead.
UK estimates indicate that 2.4 million adults (one-in-20) experienced domestic abuse in 2021-22, with evidence indicating some healthcare staff are at greater risk than most.
Other headline announcements include:
- £2.4 billion to fund ‘additional education and training places over five years on top of existing funding commitments’
- The number of GP training places will be increased by 50% to 6,000 by 2031
- The number of medical school training places to double to 15,000 by 2031
- 24,000 more nurse and midwife training places by 2031.