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Deaneries ‘should remain part of the NHS’

By Ellie Broughton

The Government's plans to abolish the SHA-run postgraduate deaneries have come in for criticism in the NHS Future Forum report, with the authors insisting they should not be hived off to other providers.

The plans to abolish deaneries have caused widespread concern, with RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada suggesting they could be based in universities in the future.

The NHS Future Forum report reflects this concern, saying that any replacement should be put in place 'urgently' and should remain part of the NHS.

The report says: 'Interim arrangements must be put in place to allow an ordered and managed transition to the new arrangements.'

'Any successor organisation to the workforce and education and training arm of the Strategic Health Authorities, including the postgraduate medical Deaneries, must remain part of the NHS and have regard to the NHS Constitution and NHS values.

NHS Future Forum chair Professor Steve Field wrote: 'In a few areas, such as the proposals for education and workforce training, there were genuine concerns that there was simply not enough evidence or detail to justify such radical change where the consequences of failure are so significant and long lasting.'

‘The education and training of the healthcare workforce is the foundation on which the NHS is built and the single most important thing in raising standards of care. More time is needed to get this right ? the effects of mistakes made now will be felt for a generation.'

The idea of transferring the workforce planning functions outside of the NHS was extremely unpopular, he wrote, and the forum also noted that the Government should allow a lot of time for education to move to a levy?based funding regime.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum, reacted to the report by saying that the Government needed to act now to save the deaneries.

Dr Meldrum said: ‘While we welcome the acknowledgement that the education and training reforms need much more thinking through, there needs to be immediate action to prevent the imminent implosion of deaneries.'

Dr Meldrum Follow the latest developments

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More on the NHS Future Forum report of the listening exercise

Read more on the NHS Future Forum report here:

Future Forum calls for April 2013 deadline to be lifted
Consortia should have to set up 'clinical senates'
Choice mandate 'to increase integration of services'
Commissioning under 'any qualifying provider' to remain