The document identifies current workforce challenges such as the 42,000 vacancies across nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions and the need to respond to the service goals set out in the Five Year Forward View. It also acknowledges the failure of workforce planning to address these challenges.
Responding to the publication, Professor Alistair Fitt, Chair of Universities UK's Health Education and Research Network and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said:
"Universities educate our doctors, our nurses and all other health professionals. We are also essential partners in the transformation of existing workforce.
"We welcome the consultation on this national workforce strategy. If this is to become a system wide conversation, it must look further than the Department of Health and its arm's length bodies and must fully involve the providers of education and training alongside employers, professional bodies and regulators.
"Given the mixed history and poor outcomes of workforce planning, universities strongly support the longer-term approach and ask that the final strategy commits to credible implementation with clear lines of accountability and effective national and local workforce intelligence in support.
"While universities support the development of new routes into the professions, such as degree apprenticeships and new roles such as physician and nursing associates, we urge that these do not distract from the major routes, undergraduate or postgraduate preregistration degrees.
"We applaud the focus on current staff and look forward to the final document reinstating the importance of continuing professional development (CPD), both to enable individual aspirations and also upskill existing workforce."