Wales Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy - consultation response

In 2019 the RCPCH responded to this draft Strategy, produced by Social Care Wales (SCW) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).

The Wales Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy has been developed to support the delivery of more seamless models of health and care, in partnership with health and social care workforce stakeholders across Wales.

We note that the Strategy refers to many important principles as part of its seven themes, but that these sometimes lack clarity and a pledge for necessary additional investment.

The Wales medical workforce, including paediatrics and other professionals in the field of child health, must be supported in terms of retention, recruitment and investment. This will help to safeguard the health of the population and to secure the wellbeing of future generations.

Our response

  • The emphasis on upskilling the workforce in various aspects, such as digital literacy and clinical leadership, is positive.
  • The Strategy's reference to multidisciplinary teams and learning is positive, as well as widening access to opportunities within the health service.
  • Paediatrics and child health is a key part of prevention, one of the quadruple aims of the strategy.
  • It is important that medical staff of all specialties receive paediatric training and experience. This is especially relevant to primary care.
  • It is essential that technological innovations are accompanied by investment in infrastructure and the workforce.

Our recommendations

  • Technology and data collection infrastructure in Wales should be strengthened in order provide a strong foundation for new innovations to be implemented. The significant expenditure that will be required to embed technology within the health service should be acknowledged and pledged within the Strategy.
  • The Strategy should commit to planning its workforce based on demand modelling, rather than according to budgetary constraints.
  • Issues around recruitment and retention in the workforce should be acknowledged as drivers of workforce shortages. The Strategy should also refer to other practitioners in the context of multidisciplinary and multi-agency teams, such as advanced clinical practitioners or physicians associates.
  • All medical students should have exposure to paediatrics, especially within primary care.
  • The medical research workforce in Wales should be supported and strengthened, in partnership with Local Health Boards, Trusts and Universities in Wales.