NHS Employers will tell MPs there is a danger that overly-centralist government reforms would deprive trusts of sufficiently skilled staff, HSJ understands.
The organisation is expected to make the warning in written evidence to the health select committee, which is carrying out an inquiry into planned changes to NHS education, training and workforce planning.
The plans would hand control of the 5bn training budget to a new body named Health Education England. From April 2013, the funds would be distributed to Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) made up of groups of provider organisations, which would be held to account by HEE.
NHS Employers is expected to tell MPs that a proposal for LETBs to become “outposts” of HEE would allow the centre to take too many decisions on how to develop the workforce to meet local population needs.
This would “make it harder to align the commissioning of services and education to ensure that local areas have the right workforce for their patient services”, the evidence is likely to say.
In authorising LETBs, HEE should look for evidence that they have “the capacity and capability to deliver, rather than seeking to own and mould them into a particular model,” MPs will be told.
Decisions must be delegated as far down as possible, with HEE focusing only on activities that are best carried out nationally rather than becoming an “administrator” of LETBs, the evidence will say.
As previously reported in HSJ, there are concerns that the Department of Health has failed to publish further details on LETBs this autumn as originally planned.
This has led to many shadow LETBs starting to form around the country in varying shapes and sizes, ranging from large bodies containing dozens of organisations, to social enterprises and boards “hosted” within foundation trusts.
NHS Employers is expected to raise fears with MPs about the “significant time” that has already been invested in the shadow arrangements, in the absence of national guidance.
“Given the intention to have the new system in place from April 2013, an early announcement on the range of available structural forms for the LETB will be very important to allow them to be authorised and functional in time,” NHS Employers will say.
The body supports the ringfencing of money set aside out of the national NHS budget for training, but believes protecting budgets for particular parts of the workforce would “stifle” innovation.