“Our verdict – this is welcome but an effective workforce strategy will need investment. This will need to be delivered in the next spending review.
“We are delighted the plan responds so positively to our call for a much greater role for local leaders in workforce development.
“We are also pleased that there is the promise of pension scheme reform for doctors. It may not be enough but it looks like a start and everyone in government needs to acknowledge and address the mounting problems NHS trusts are facing as senior doctors begin to restrict their clinical work.
“There is though a need for a much greater alignment with social care. We have to concede that any steps the NHS takes to strengthen its workforce position may unintentionally risk further weakening the social care workforce. We do not need two plans – we need one.
“The Confederation is leading a coalition of 15 health organisations calling for a sustainable social care system and we will continue to campaign for this to be addressed in the forthcoming spending review.”
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“This is a further step forward following last year’s significant investment in pay for our teams, and brings greater focus to the issues that must be addressed in relation to our workforce. However investment is required to incentivise more people to train to be nurses either through undergraduate or apprenticeship routes: employers look forward to this investment for the final plan later this year.
“Whilst medical colleagues will be disappointed that changes to the tax regime have not been possible, allowing greater flexibility in the pension scheme is a positive response to the concerns we have been raising on behalf of employers. At the same time, we believe that the flexibility proposed should be available to support the retention of all the members of our team, and will continue to make that case.”