FSRH Consultation Response: Health and Social Care Committee’s call for evidence on Workforce: recruitment, training and retention
Date: 11 Apr 2022
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
We have responded to the Health and Social Care Committee’s call for evidence on Workforce: recruitment, training and retention. Our response focused on the pressing issues facing the sustainability of the Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) workforce.
In our response, we highlighted how the SRH sector is facing a recruitment crisis due to a chronic lack of funding and contractual disincentives for specialty training. We emphasised the importance of having the right leadership and workforce to ensure equal access to quality SRH care.
- We are responsible for overseeing the Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (CSRH) Specialty training programme, which aims to cultivate systems leaders, capable of delivering specialist SRH care, as well as designing and supporting services provided by the multidisciplinary SRH workforce.
- A chronic lack of funding, however, has created a deficit in training posts. This workforce supply gap is having a detrimental impact on access to SRH care, with patients in deprived areas bearing the brunt of workforce shortages.
- We would like for CSRH Specialty training posts to be fully funded by Health Education England, with one new fully funded Specialty training post per HEE region for the next three years. Expanding the recruitment of trainees from ST1 level to include those at ST3 level would further improve the rate of specialist qualification.
- The fragmentation of commissioning responsibilities in SRH means that the responsibility for training is at best unclear and, at worst, actively disincentivising staff from accessing the necessary training to be able to provide SRH services. The SRH primary care workforce must be adequately resourced and supported by local contracts, to provide LARC fittings and access training, so that this essential service can be maintained.
- Workplace stress and mental health is another factor contributing to the instability of the SRH workforce. We support the recommendation of the HSC Committee that burnout from chronic excessive workload cannot be tackled ‘until the service has the right number of people, with the right mix of skills across both the NHS and care system’.
- Finally, there is a clear and pressing need for accountability on workforce planning at a national level. We strongly support the proposed amendment to the Health and Care Bill requiring the Health Secretary to public independent assessments of current and future workforce numbers every two years.