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Andrew Foster resignation

31st May 2006

Andrew Foster has left his post as NHS workforce director; he says he has finished the job he promised to do for former NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp reports the HSJ. Mr Foster has come under fire during the last few months, leading to assumptions about his decision to leave amid damning headlines of excessive doctors’ pay and mounting NHS job cuts. However Mr Foster is adamant that he was not pushed; that he has not been made yet another scapegoat of the financial crisis, says the HSJ.

Andrew Foster took up post as Director of Workforce in May 2001. Previously he was both an NHS Trust Chair and Policy Director (HR) at the NHS Confederation. He was appointed was appointed to his post shortly after the NHS plan was published in July 2000, to which he had considerable input in his previous role as HR policy director at the NHS Confederation.

His first priority was to prepare a workforce strategy for the NHS, ‘The HR in the NHS Plan’ which was published in June 2002.  This sets out the two overriding workforce objectives of expanding capacity and reforming service and jobs.

He says that ‘The thing that I would be most proud of now is having delivered that chapter. We have expanded the workforce at an amazing rate, we have modernised the contracts, the system and education and, subject to ministerial reviews, medical regulation'.

He says he is exasperated that nobody is talking about the benefits the implementation of Agenda for Change has achieved. Mr Foster sees the successful negotiation and near total implementation of Agenda for Change as his crowning achievement - 99 per cent of staff in England were on their new terms and conditions as of March 2006.

He claims there are signs of an imminent thawing of the ‘mutual blame’ between the DoH and the NHS, and that with the style of Sir Ian 'the NHS could begin to feel reassured.’  

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