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18 October 2010: Centre for Workforce Intelligence

  • Last modified date:
    18 April 2011

Thank you Carol [Dame Carol Black, Chair of the CfWI Governing Board]

This is a time of real change for the NHS.  Set against a backdrop of a protected but challenging financial settlement for the NHS, the White Paper heralds a new dawn of locally-led, clinically led, patient focussed care.  A change more radical than anything in the history of the Health Service.

It cannot be over-stressed how vitally important the people of the NHS will be to making the transition to the new system work and to improving outcomes while operating within far more constrained budgets.

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence will play a valuable role in helping the Health Service through the transition and to plan for the future.  So may I first thank Peter Sharpe [CEO] and Carol [Black] for everything they have done to bring the CfWI to this point, and for everything they will do to help the NHS plan for the future.

The White Paper

In health, everything that this new government does, everything we want to achieve, every policy and White Paper we publish is based upon one simple principle – trust.

This government trusts the people of the NHS.  We trust you to know patients better than we do.  We trust you to know what excellent healthcare looks like and to know what gets in its way better than we do.  And we trust you and your colleagues to lead the NHS into a new era of patient choice, of local accountability, and of health outcomes comparable with the best in the world. 

If the White Paper is about nothing else, it is about putting that trust into action.  It is about making “the system” reflect and support the essential human relationships that exist within it.  Not to act as a barrier, but as a conduit.

The recent White Paper – Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS – will shift the centre of gravity for the NHS.  Top-down direction from Whitehall will be replaced by bottom-up local decision making.  Consortia of GPs, working with their clinical colleagues across primary, secondary and community care, local authorities and their local communities will plan and commission clinically led health services as they see fit. 

Not as politicians like me tell them, micro-managing from Whitehall.

All NHS Trusts will become Foundation Trusts – free to decide how they want to run their own services; free to manage their own finances; free to reach their own potential.

And patient choice will be more than just something we speak about, it will become an integral, every-day fact of life.  In the coming years, we will give patients real control over when, where and by whom they are treated.  They will be central to all decisions about their after care, often spending their own budget in the way that suits their needs rather than the needs of the system

This is an opportunity to have a more streamlined NHS with less bureaucracy.  A more patient focussed NHS with their interests put first every step of the way.  A higher quality NHS with clinical outcomes among the best in the world.

None of this, not one single part of it, can be delivered without a highly trained and highly motivated workforce.  Of course, change is difficult.  There will be many challenges along the way.  But with proper planning based on insight and intelligence, we can overcome them.  We can build a Service that reflects the values of the staff working within it.  Liberating staff to do a better job for their patients.

In a moment Clare will speak in more detail about the impact of the White Paper on workforce and on education and training and the consultation we will run later in the year.


We know that a top-down management approach will not work.  We need a devolved, clinically-led solution that meets the individual needs of patients.  As we are giving General Practice responsibility for commissioning, and providers extra responsibility for designing their own services, we need to give employers responsibility for workforce planning and for education and training alongside professional oversight of quality.

The system must mirror the principles of the White Paper.  It needs to be clinically-led, responsive to local needs and to changes in the supply and demand for local services. 

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence will have a vital role to play in providing the evidence that can drive workforce and service reform.


I said at the beginning that we face challenging financial times.  On Wednesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will set out his plans to tackle this country’s crippling deficit and start paying back the massive debts that this government inherited from the last one. 

It is a measure of the importance that we place upon the National Health Service, and the future health of the nation, that the NHS budget will not be cut, but protected.  For every year of this Parliament we will increase, in real terms, NHS funding. 

We all know that this will not be easy.  With a growing and aging population, new drugs, new technologies and the ever-increasing expectations of the British people, the NHS budget will be stretched like never before.  We will need to make huge efficiency savings of up to £20 billion a year. 

But every penny saved, is a penny reinvested in the Health Service.  It’s a penny spent on new cancer drugs we otherwise couldn’t afford.  On better public health where once this would have been the first budget to be cut. 
On higher quality, integrated, patient centred, outcome focussed health services led by you.

One major way we will meet this challenge is the QIPP programme – quality, innovation, productivity, prevention.  It is a two-pronged attack: drive out inefficiencies from the system, including in the way it deploys staff, and improve the way the NHS delivers services. 

QIPP is about working smarter.  It’s about doing the right things, in the right place, in the right way, at the right time.  Innovating to improve patient care and constantly striving for ways to make the system more efficient.

It is also about the workforce.  Changing how we plan, train, reward, support and engage with staff throughout the NHS in deliver services. 

This is about more than just being efficient.  It is about equipping and supporting NHS staff to become more flexible, meeting the complex and diverse needs of its patients.  It’s about recognising and realising their potential to innovate and improve services for patients.


The Centre for Workforce Intelligence will play a vital role in supporting QIPP.  It will mean that future decisions on investment in education and training will be underpinned by sound evidence of what works.  Helping providers to respond to the reforms that lie ahead and to improve the quality and shape of local services.

The Centre will analyse the changing needs of the NHS, assessing the future demand for doctors and other clinicians.  It will develop practical, pathway-specific guides.  Guides that will help different health organisations and consortia to assess the workforce implications as local services evolve. 

It will enable innovative workforce solutions that will make an important contribution toward the QIPP savings. 


Change is needed and change is coming.  Yes, some things will be difficult because of tighter budgets.  But I believe we stand on the brink on the most exciting period of NHS history since it was founded over sixty years ago.

For the first time, the NHS will not be micro-managed by people like me in the Westminster bubble.  But by lead from the bottom up but the people who understand the NHS better than anyone.  By the people who make it happen every day.  By you. 

And the Centre for Workforce Intelligence has an important contribution to make.  Helping local NHS organisations respond to a new world of patient choice, local leadership and health outcomes that are among the best in the world.

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