The Welsh government announced the establishment of Health Education Wales (HEW) to oversee workforce planning and recruitment for the NHS.
It said the body, which will launch in April 2018, will ‘deliver a national co-ordinated approach to delivering workforce education and training to meet the specific geographical needs of Wales’.
The move is in response to the 2015 Professionals Education Investment review led by Mel Evans, which recommended a single, independent body for workforce planning, development, and commissioning of education and training for NHS Wales.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething said: “The workforce is the beating heart of the NHS in Wales. The new body I’ve announced will create an environment in Wales which builds a culture that supports learning in the working environment, attracting and retaining the best people possible, on a cross Wales basis.
“I am confident this is the right approach for Wales and I now intend to put arrangements in place to enable Health Education Wales to be delivered.”
Responding to the announcement Dr Phil Banfield, BMA Welsh Council Chair, said: “BMA Cymru Wales welcomes the renewed focus on workforce planning, workforce design and education commissioning.
“The capacity of the current workforce is failing to keep pace with increasing demand. We have witnessed a growing number of GP practices handing back their keys to health boards as they are unable to recruit, an increase in the use of locum doctors in primary and secondary care, as well as increasing overtime costs being reported by health boards amongst medical staff. Attention clearly needs to be given to recruitment and retention of the medical workforce to alleviate these pressures.
“We look forward to working with Health Education Wales to ensure that Wales is equipped with the appropriate number of medical staff to deliver high quality care for patients.”