The planned “provider skills networks” must be given responsibility for the “whole healthcare workforce”, NHS Employers has urged Department of Health workforce director general Clare Chapman.

Plans to make providers more responsible for workforce planning by establishing local skills networks were set out in the Department of Health’s white paper consultation Liberating the NHS: developing the healthcare workforce, published last December.

In a letter to Ms Chapman, published this week, NHS Employers director Dean Royles said there had been substantial discussion over whether the networks’ focus should be wider than clinical roles covered by Agenda for Change.

He said: “We thought it important to highlight overwhelming support [for] ensuring that the local networks have the ability to support the development of the whole healthcare workforce.”

The DH has previously said the networks would be directly responsible for maintaining and building the skills of the “existing workforce” but has not set out what their wider remit would be.

The multiprofessional education and training budget, which currently funds some continuous professional development, would pay for training the “next generation” of clinical staff and would be allocated through Health Education England.