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10.11.17

HEE draws up plan to create sustainable A&E workforce

Health Education England (HEE) has teamed up with NHS Improvement, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and NHS England to meet the staffing needs of the country’s emergency departments.

Together, the four organisations have developed a plan, ‘Securing the future workforce for emergency departments in England,’ in an effort to achieve sustainable staffing in the departments.

Emergency medicine is a fast growing specialty, with the consultant body growing by 37% since 2012.

The plan aims to support this growth with the addition of four years of ‘expansion cohorts,’ with a minimum of 300 people starting on Acute Care Common Stem-Emergency Medicine (ACCS-EM) programmes each year for the next four years.

HEE and the RCEM will work to recruit an additional 100 doctors a year over the next four years.

Investment in advanced clinical practitioners (ACP) will see 14 trusts double the number of ACPs in emergency care.

Training for physician associates (PAs) will increase, and the plan says that by 2019 there will be 3,200 qualified PAs, compared to around 350 currently.

Around 30% of those currently employed work in emergency medicine.

The organisations also hope to improve retention of emergency medicine staff, and incorporated into the plan is dedicated HR support for the 20 trusts with the most challenging recruitment and retention problems.

Professor Wendy Reid, executive director of education and quality, and national medical director of HEE, said: “Health Education England has increased the number of training posts in this high priority area over the past four years.

“The medical consultant workforce has grown by nearly 40% in the last five years and EM will be the fastest growing specialty over the next five years.

“We will continue to add hundreds more medical and professional support posts in the years to come to ensure that all those people who turn to A&E for help continue to get safe, high quality care both now and in the future.

“As well as a number of initiatives to boost the future workforce, we will ensure that current staff receive additional help and support so that we can also keep more of the staff we are training.

“HEE looks forward to working closely with the RCEM, NHSI and NHSE to ensure support for these initiatives.”

Dr. Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “We are delighted to be launching this vision for our Emergency Departments which sets out to tackle the clinical workforce challenges facing the service.
“We will increase our trainee numbers significantly, provide initiatives to expand the junior multidisciplinary workforce and share best practice on sustainability.

“The proposed additional resources are much needed and there are a large number of initiatives here which together will mean a comprehensive, coherent shared vision that Executive Boards in trusts can follow.

“Much work now is required to ensure an excellent implementation plan and we will follow progress together closely to ensure long term success.”

Jim Mackey, chief executive at NHS Improvement, added: "The commitment to train more emergency medics year on year and to develop the roles of advanced nurse practitioners and associate physicians further, while working to reduce the attrition rates of our current staff, provide a clear plan on how we and our partners will work together to tackle some of the staffing pressures facing emergency departments.

"These commitments will ensure that our A&Es are appropriately and sustainably staffed, with skill mixes that match the changing needs of our society, that provide a supportive environment in which to train emergency medicine trainees and establish these departments as attractive places to build a long and fulfilling career.”

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