Committee (5th Day)
Health and Social Care Bill
Lord Ribeiro (Conservative)
I have listened to the debate with considerable interest, particularly as it brings to our attention the whole concept of Health Education England. I think Health Education England is a work in progress, and the reason I say that is that, as a result of the MMC/MTAS debacle that took place in 2006-07, one of the major recommendations of the inquiry that followed by Sir John Tooke was that a new body should be set up called Medical Education England. That recommendation was accepted by the Government at the time, and by the Opposition. It started work under the chairmanship of Dr Patricia Hamilton, who has come to this House to give her views on the development of education and training.
The reason I mention that is that Medical Education England was designed to deal with medicine. Yet, as the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, has said, more than 50 per cent of the multiprofessional education budget actually goes on nurses and other non-medical members. Therefore, it is totally inappropriate to be moving on to a Medical Education England model when clearly we have to encompass all the other health providers, and hence we have Health Education England. I understand the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Warner, to get on with this but, to get this to work, it needs to be thought through very carefully. One of the reasons-certainly from the medical point of view-is that, among the questions we asked in 2006 was, "What is the end point of training? What are we training these doctors for?". One has always assumed that most medical treatments will occur within the hospital sector but we know, because of the ageing population, that more and more is being done in general practice and in the community. We therefore need to think very carefully about how we train doctors for the future and where they are going to work.
It is important, therefore, that we give time for the development of the workforce as well as the training and the education of the workforce. The noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, referred to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence, which is very important, but that is a new agency. I was in America last year, when a representative from it came to brief the American College of Surgeons Health Policy Research Institute on how it was trying to work out where doctors should go within the UK with respect to geography as well as specialty. They were taking advice from the Americans as to how they were trying to map and plan their health workforce.
I think this is work in progress. I welcome that this is a probing amendment, but I do not feel that at present we are in a position to roll out Health Education England without having heard the full report from the Future Forum.