New arrangements for training the next generation of NHS workforce must be slowed to avoid jeopardising the future of the NHS, the report warned.
The NHS Future Forum report described stakeholder concerns about pace of change as ‘one of the most widely voiced criticisms of the proposed changes’.
It said: ‘We found broad support for the objectives and design of the proposed system alongside concern to ensure maintenance of high quality training responsive to patients’ needs.
‘Patients need to have confidence that services and skilled professionals will be available when and where they are needed.’
But it continued: ‘On the other hand, what emerged as one of the most widely voiced criticisms of the proposed changes was a deeply felt concern at the risks to healthcare education and training in England posed by the fast pace of change.
‘One of our main recommendations therefore is to take sufficient time to ensure an orderly and safe transition to the new arrangements for planning and commissioning education and training.’
The forum recommended that the proposed Health Education England, which will oversee future education and training development, should be set up as soon as possible to provide ‘focus and leadership’ as the changes are made to the system.
The report also said it met with ‘consistent resistance’ to ‘transferring the workforce planning functions out of the NHS family’.
As such, it recommends finding an ‘NHS home’ for Local Education and Training Boards.
It also warned that a ‘substantial’ transition period for moving to a levy-based funding regime is needed.