Education and training consortia: leading the way for the new British NHS
In November 1997 The New NHS — Modern,Dependable was published, describing the British Labour government’s plans to introduce major changes to the NHS (National Health Service). Education and Training Consortia (ETCs) were only briefly referred to and no direct changes were proposed to them. It can be argued that this was because they had not fitted well within the Conservative government’s competitive culture of the NHS internal market. Education Consortia members share information, make plans collectively and work collaboratively, activities much more appropriate for the ‘New NHS’ which is underpinned by the concepts of partnership, openness and local ownership. In this paper it is argued that there are many valuable lessons that the key individuals involved in implementing the policies of the New NHS can learn from Education and Training Consortia. Data have been drawn from a qualitative study in which the aim was to explore the development, implementation and management of consortia and contracting for non-medical education and training (NMET) from a stakeholder’s perspective. One of the unexpected themes that emerged from the analysis of the data, was that the development of ETCs could be utilized as a model for many of the innovations in the New NHS, particularly in relation to the formation of primary care groups.