The debate started by your report on workforce strategy is timely, as in each region primary care trusts and providers grapple with understanding their roles in workforce planning, following the publication of A High Quality Workforce.

In order to deliver on NHS East Midlands' obligations to develop a robust workforce strategy and multiprofessional eduction and training investment plan, a devolved infrastructure for workforce development planning has been established based on PCTs and providers working together in local health community clusters.

Each of the five areas making up the East Midlands has a workforce development board with representation from NHS and social care employers. This board agrees the planning priorities based on commissioner intentions, taking into account national and local policy drivers and providers' strategic objectives.

Development team

A bespoke workforce development team is in place in each county to co-ordinate the development of a three-year workforce plan, updated annually, which describes planned service changes and the implications for both workforce and education and training investment. This is supported by quantitative demand and supply projections.

These bottom-up plans are used by NHS East Midlands to develop a region-wide workforce plan. Joint meetings are then held between the strategic health authority, local health communities and the healthcare workforce deanery to translate them into education commissioning investment for the coming year.

This approach facilitates partnership working between commissioners and providers in the development of locally determined workforce and education investment plans, within a framework of quality assurance by NHS East Midlands.

We are happy to share more detail with your readers who are trying to find a way forward.

Trish Knight, deputy director of workforce, NHS East Midlands, Jackie Hewlett-Davies, workforce lead for Derbyshire