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NHS: Advisory Bodies

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to have established new professional advisory bodies, as referred to on page 73 of High Quality Care for All, Cm 7432; how many such bodies he plans to establish in total; what the (a) purpose and (b) function of each such body will be; what the cost of (i) establishing and (ii) running each body will be; and if he will make a statement. (221054)

The Next Stage Review has recommended that three advisory functions are set up:

Medical Education England;

regional advisory boards; and

advisory boards for other professions.

Medical Education England will have the following core functions for doctors, dentists, health care scientists, pharmacists and low volume specialities:

bringing a coherent professional voice on matters relating to education and training and advising the Department on policy;

providing high level scrutiny of and advice on the quality of workforce planning at a national level;

providing professional scrutiny of and advice on the education and training commissioning plans developed at strategic health authority (SHA) level;

coordination of changes to postgraduate training pathways at a national level;

integration of service and professional perspectives into curricula development; and

liaison with other relevant bodies.

The main functions of the SHA advisory bodies are:

bringing a coherent professional perspective to advise the SHAs on education and training needs so that the workforce model that service providers need can be developed e.g. community based cardiology services;

engaging with higher education institutions to translate workforce models, based on clinical needs into training and education;

providing a professional high level overview and assurance of quality of the workforce plans created at SHA level; and

bringing a multi professional perspective and regional perspective in advising the national advisory boards on workforce plans.

The advisory boards for other professions have yet to be agreed. The Department will be working with professional bodies and other key stakeholders over the coming months to establish exactly which professional bodies should be set up. Consequently no timescale or specific costings have been prepared yet for this function.

We will also be working with SHAs to support the development of regional advisory groups. This will be funded from within existing budgets.

It is planned that Medical Education England will be in place by January 2009.