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Modernising Scientific Careers

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 22 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) whether any independent research has been undertaken on the evidence base for the Modernising Scientific Careers proposals; and (b) if so, whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of this research. [HL5629]

Building on recent publications, Modernising Scientific Careers is set in the context of a vision for a National Health Service that empowers patients and the public, works in partnership with staff, and has quality as the organising principle. The case for change was made in the next-stage review documents published in June 2008, High Quality Care for All and A High Quality Workforce, which set out the need to modernise healthcare careers as the NHS addresses the challenges for the future around:

the changing nature of demand for healthcare services, including the effects of demography, changing public and patient expectations, more community-based care and technological advance;

the changing nature of the supply of healthcare services, including changes driven by improvements to technology, changes in the composition of the workforce, their desired working patterns, and improvements to productivity, which also include the drive to promote more and better self-care and better use of the workforce; and

the changing nature of professional practice and the need to develop new skills and more team working, changes in accountability, leadership and independent practice and changes in the relationships between clinician and manager.

Four key questions were at the heart of developing these proposals.

First, how will the roles played by healthcare professionals change and what will be the implications for career frameworks? This has included looking at changing roles and career structures.

Secondly, how should workforce planning be carried out to deliver trainees and a workforce of the right size, structure and skill? In answering this we have had to look at our core assumptions, the roles of different organisations as well as skills and resources.

Thirdly, how should education be commissioned and funded to deliver trainees and a workforce of the right size, structure and skills? This has involved a review of how we commission and fund education and training as well as the capacity and capability required.

Fourthly, how should we change the infrastructure and content of education to ensure the future workforce has the right skills? We have looked at education structures, regulatory structures and changes to selection processes.

These questions were considered and addressed by four working groups made up of key stakeholders and leading thinkers. The output from these groups resulted in the commitments set out in High Quality Care for All and A High Quality Workforce. These documents also provide further reference to background evidence and research and both have already been placed in the Library.