NHS to boost number of staff trained to treat dementia patients


The number of NHS staff with dementia training will reach 100,000 by March next year under a shake-up of medical education in England.

Measures to tackle a historic shortage in medics specialising in accident and emergency are also included in the Government's mandate for Health Education England (HEE).

Under the plans, more nurses will have part of their training in the community and the NHS will have enough midwives and maternity staff for all expectant mothers to receive personalised one-to-one care.

Health minister Dan Poulter said: "The staff working in our NHS are our health service's most precious resource, and we must do all we can to ensure that our staff have the right values, training, and skills to deliver the very highest quality of care for patients.

"Today's mandate to Health Education England, backed by a £5 billion budget, will help our many dedicated frontline staff to further improve their ability to care for patients as well as enabling our NHS to train the next generation of doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants.

"As people are living longer with more complex medical and care needs, so must we ensure that our NHS workforce has the right skills and values to provide more care in the community for older patients as well as to give each and every child the very best start in life. Plans for the future training and recruitment of our NHS will lead to better working lives for staff and better care for patients."

In a joint foreword to the document, Dr Poulter and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "The terrible events at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and the Francis Report reinforces the need to recruit NHS and public health staff with the right values and the need to put the delivery of high quality compassionate care at the heart of our NHS."

Under the targets set for HEE, 100,000 staff will have foundation level dementia training by March 2014, 50% of medical students will go on to become GPs and at least half of all student nurses will do a community placement as part of their training by March 2015.

A new five-year plan to ensure the right levels of staffing and training across the health service workforce will be in place by autumn 2013 including a commitment to tackle shortages in doctors working in emergency medicine.

A&E departments have struggled to cope with soaring demand, with experts warning that emergency care systems could collapse in six months as a result.

The mandate includes a plan to support the progression of healthcare assistants into nursing by autumn 2014, and to establish minimum training standards for healthcare assistants by spring 2014.

HEE's chief executive Prof Ian Cumming said: "Our mandate from the Government sets out clearly the plans for education and training that will be the cornerstone for the delivery of high quality, effective, compassionate care, by recruiting for values and training for skills. Our £5 billion budget will allow us to recruit, train and develop a workforce that will deliver improved care to patients."

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "These commitments are very welcome. On paper this looks good but it has got to be put into action and the Government have to ensure this happens.

"I want to look back at the end of the timescales the Government have laid out and see that all of this actually happened, and I look forward to working with them and HEE to make it a reality."

Dean Royles, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: "This mandate isn't just about having the right numbers of staff. In the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry, the NHS Employers organisation will work with HEE to ensure a strong emphasis on recruiting for positive values.

"We look forward to working with HEE on implementing this mandate and ensuring it delivers for patients."