The Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education and Skills today (Thursday 24 May) announced arrangements for the management of NHS training budgets by Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) in England in 2007/08.
Funding of £4.3bn has been allocated for the training and development of the NHS workforce – an increase of 3.6% over 2006/07 (excluding student grants).
A new service level agreement has been put in place between the DH and the SHAs, setting out the priorities for investment of training funding. SHAs and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will be expected to work in partnership to ensure investment is effectively planned and based on long-term workforce need.
Health Minister Lord Hunt said: "This agreement represents a significant commitment to the training of our next generation of healthcare professionals. It is important that the NHS has the freedom to manage training so that workforce development reflects the healthcare needs of the local population. However, we expect this agreement to put training plans on a much firmer footing so that the investment we have made will enable SHAs and their local universities to work together to produce a well-trained NHS workforce that can deliver improved patient care.
"We now have an agreement that links funding of training much more closely to workforce planning needs and gives greater long-term security to universities. We expect future changes in training commissions to be based on an assessment of services required by patients and that SHAs will work in partnership with their local universities to achieve this.
Bill Rammell, Minister for Further and Higher Education said: "This agreement underlines the importance of close partnership working between the NHS and HEIs. In the longer term, the service level agreement will lead to a more stable funding position for HEIs.
"I believe we now have an agreement where SHAs and HEIs can work together to plan and provide high quality healthcare education for the NHS of the future."