FSRH outlines main SRH workforce challenges and solutions in response to HEE consultation

Posted 26 March 2018

Date: 26 Mar 2018

Type: FSRH Consultation Responses

Health Education England (HEE) launched a consultation on a new draft health and social care workforce strategy for England to 2027, HEE’s first ever system-wide draft strategy in this area. FSRH is pleased to see the Government’s commitment to workforce planning, long overdue and fundamental for the sustainability of the NHS

HEE’s draft strategy considers outputs of major workforce plans for the priorities laid out in NHS’ England Five Year Forward View, including primary and community care. The final strategy is to be published in July 2018 to coincide with the NHS’ 70th birthday.

FSRH believes the SRH workforce is well-positioned to further the long-term aims of the health and social care system and with the right investment, it can help HEE meet its mandate. In its response, FSRH addressed the main issues affecting the SRH workforce and possible solutions, as follows:

  • CSRH training: CSRH training is the second most competitive specialist training programme in the UK, and there needs to be further investment in this specialist training provision because the current predicted output of the programme falls well-short of replacing the vacancies that will arise due to retirement, let alone address the fact that current consultant numbers relative to population numbers are inadequate. FSRH would welcome fully funded CSRH training posts to help ensure the system is effectively training, educating and investing in the new workforce.
  • Broad-Based Training Programme: FSRH proposes a new concept of training -  a Broad-Based Training Programme in women’s health that doctors could undertake following their Foundation Training. The aim of this programme would be to provide post-foundation experience around women’s health and community-based care, affording greater exposure to this area before beginning a specialty training programme, which would hopefully means less attrition.
  • SRH Consultants: FSRH expressed deep concern that the CSRH consultant workforce is in a succession crisis. It is estimated that one third of the current medical workforce could retire in the next 5 years. Without this leadership, there will be no sustainability for new care models. In particular, there is a need for leadership by SRH consultants to support the nursing and GP workforce to deliver all aspects of contraceptive care, inclusive of Level 3. We believe HEE should set out clear plans to identify and protect training funds as well as generally support training of all healthcare professionals in Primary Care.
  • SAS doctors: Many medical staff working in SRH are of the Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) grade and so receive considerably lower pay and benefits. Work to support this workforce through structured CESR pathways would be incredibly helpful.
  • Nursing: FSRH believes that there should be a structured career pathway for nurses working in SRH. FSRH would also like to see the reinstatement of nurse bursaries to help support the development of this critical workforce.

Download our full response below.