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Training (Nurses and Doctors)

Volume 536: debated on Tuesday 22 November 2011

Our reforms aim for excellence in education and training and for a better patient experience by ensuring greater accountability for employers in planning and developing their work force while being professionally informed and underpinned by strong academic links. I have always been clear that I want to see greater professional ownership of the standards of education and training, and greater employer engagement in getting work force planning right. We will publish more details on that when the NHS Future Forum reports shortly.

Does the Secretary of State share the concerns that I have picked up in my constituency? First, although we have very good nurses in Huddersfield, national stories about a lack of care for elderly people make all of us worried about the quality of training of some nurses in some institutions. Secondly, will he remember that, with his demolition of the health service, we are moving to a system in which no management training is given to any doctor or GP? Is that not a recipe for chaos?

On the latter point, I have been talking to those in training, and part of their education increasingly includes leadership. That is what we are looking for—clinical leadership, not to turn clinicians into managers. They will work with managers, but they will provide leadership.

On nursing training, the Care Quality Commission’s recent inspection reports, in particular, illustrated the sheer variability of care—sometimes even between wards in the same hospital. On that basis, we should not in any sense damn the quality of nurse training; we need to focus on the quality of nurse leadership—ward by ward, and hospital by hospital.

The new Government’s strategy on human trafficking requires the NHS to ensure that victims of human trafficking are recognised in hospitals and reported. One way of doing that is to improve training for nurses. I have just returned from Moldova, where nurses have a course on human trafficking as part of their training, so that they can recognise victims and help them. Is that something that we could incorporate here?

I am interested to hear my hon. Friend’s experience. I certainly look forward to hearing more from him about it, and to taking it on board in considering how we respond to those obviously tragic victims.