Workforce and leadership issues: an update

1 December 2016

Ruth Taylor, CoDH Executive Member – Workforce

As you will have seen in the communications from CoDH over the past few months, there has been a great deal going on around workforce issues for nursing, midwifery and healthcare. There have been sessions on apprenticeships (which inevitably leads us to discussion on Nursing Associates) and these sessions have been very well attended. It is an area of real interest and importance to the membership. Yesterday (30 November) saw an announcement from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on degree apprenticeships for nursing in England.

We have been waiting for this announcement, and I am hopeful that we can now get the clarity that we need around some of the key issues associated with this development (end point assessment for example). Whilst I can certainly see that this new route to registration has the potential to open up a career in nursing for some people who would not otherwise be able to access it, I believe that it brings a number of challenges for us as Higher Education Institutions. Will this new route reduce the numbers of people on our ‘traditional’ three-year degree programmes? How will HEIs make their decisions about their involvement, or otherwise, with this route? What impact will HEI involvement have on relationships/partnerships with healthcare providers? There are, of course, other challenges (and opportunities?). At the last meeting of the Council’s apprenticeships group we agreed to keep a watching brief on developments, to keep the membership informed, and to engage wherever possible and appropriate with national discussions in the area. Thank you to those of you who have been involved so far – the discussions have been enlightening and lively!

The Florence Nightingale Leadership Foundation / Council of Deans of Health leadership scholarships are an amazing opportunity for our membership. Not only that, but they are important for the enhancement of patient / service user care – through the education that we provide and the development of the students, researchers, colleagues that come into contact with the scholars throughout their experiences.

Congratulations to Debra Salmon and Brian Boag on their successful applications for the most recent round of scholarships. As a previous leadership scholar myself, I am a strong advocate for the opportunities that these scholarships provide – time, resources, and networks: the development of social capital. I am planning a session for the Summit in May where aspiring scholars can come along and discuss the application and interview processes (and the scope of opportunities available through the scholarship itself). I’m keen to share some ‘top tips’ and to find ways to support aspiring scholars. I will then prepare a video blog which we can share with our colleagues in our home institutions. Existing Florence scholars – I will be in touch as I will need your input to support the development of future scholars!

There is so much going on in relation to workforce (and this will require the best leadership that we can offer in our sector). You know what these issues are, but some of them are worth repeating: Brexit and its impact on healthcare and on higher education; CPD and (in my view) the need for us to consider different ways of working so that we can develop the ways that we currently help to address some of the healthcare workforce challenges; the changes to the funding model for pre-registration healthcare students. The list could go on and impacts on how we (will) do things and who we (will) do things with. Lots of exciting challenges!

Finally, I am keen to be as engaged as possible with the membership in my role on the Executive Team (Workforce portfolio). I am always pleased to be contacted so that I can hear from you about the issues that you see as most important. I am on Twitter (@ruthft1), and on email (

I hope that everyone has a peaceful time over the festive season.

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