Image:What have we learned one year into the NHS Five Year Forward View?

Andrew Lovegrove, Senior Consultant for Skills for Health shares his work with HENCEL to identify five communities’ needs to create an effective and flexible workforce

The NHS Five Year Forward View released in 2014 provided the catalyst for major changes to health and social services. The changes require organisations to work across health and social care in order to work with other providers such as the voluntary and independent sectors to determine a model of care that better meets the needs of their local population.

This requires workforces to become more flexible in terms of what they do, where they do it and who they work with to create a more efficient service.

The Skills for Health team worked with Health Education North Central East London (HENCEL) to analyse five Community Education Provider Networks (CEPN) to develop a workforce development and assessment model.

This model was designed in order to respond most effectively to the current and future workforce development, as well as training and education needs of the workforce, to provide the best possible outcomes and experiences for patients and service users in the locality.

The partnership was established in Islington amongst CEPN, Whittington Health and Skills for Health, following recognition as an effective practise by HENCEL.

Identifying the workforce training needs

The Programme is working with five (Barnet, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and Islington) first wave CEPNs, liaising with each network and HENCEL to develop and design an agreed project delivery plan that supports the priorities and objectives for each individual CEPN.

The five networks included Islington’s 2014 programme of treatment for long-term conditions, older people and mental health.

Two successes studied by Skills for Health include; the Barnet area and its work in the care home sector, and Tower Hamlet and its work on progressing team working in integrated care.

Stepping out of the comfort zone

The idea behind CEPNs is getting people to be comfortable thinking about the future of health and social care in their local area and the workforce and education requirements to meet their needs. They aim to challenge participants about ‘doing things that they have always done’ and to consider what was done right - and what could be done better.

Regardless of the ‘themed pathway’ chosen, there were a number of common findings. One need to be addressed across all sites was cultural issues across health and social care. These have often been described as being ‘at the heart’ of what needs to change to make successful integrated care, and include honesty, respect and dignity, which together help to breed trust and understanding.

It was evident that whether staff were from health or social care they shared a common belief, the importance of promoting and supporting people to develop healthier life styles.  This was a significant area for all sites where joint working had the potential to benefit the local community.

Developing multidisciplinary teams with strong leadership

All CEPNs acknowledged the need for the programme to address new roles and new ways of working, with an emphasis on the development of multidisciplinary teams (MDT) especially for high risk groups such as people with long term conditions, vulnerable people and children and families.

Learning and development themes were of note, with the importance of leadership, navigation, empowering and motivating patients and communication for both current and future staff evident.

Universal learning opportunities were identified as essential, with areas from physical care skills for mental health nurses to information technology coming into play – a strong area of developing across all areas was the need for all non-mental health staff to upskill and increase their knowledge of mental health.

Joint commissioning, contracts and incentivisation were held to be markers of progress in all five areas, with single budgets and a clear vision for the future giving root to empowered organisations and staff.

The findings identified the importance of project management and leadership across the CEPN as a major factor in delivering successful programmes of work.

Recommendations for the future

In the current climate of heavy workloads and maximising efficiency, it was recommended that support for CEPNs be strengthened and continued for at least three more years, in order to support the delivery of the Five Year Forward plan.

Moving forward, the involvement of the local community and evidence-based data of the population and workforce to develop services could create a ‘different and more practical way of’ enabling managers, practitioners and leaders to recognise the value of workforce planning as central to business planning.

HENCEL was advised to commission joint learning and development programmes across its footprint, offering another step towards working and learning differently and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of staff utilisation based on their skills rather than on their ‘profession’.

There are also steps to be taken in the specific training of healthcare support workers, to nurture them through development and to enhance their ability for transferable skills.

All five CEPNs made a significant positive out of their manoeuvrability, offering a pathway to success to a more efficient and effective workforce to support their communities simply by using the area’s requirements to shape their own unique offering.

Jim Moran - Regional Director - talks about some of our recent work in integrated services for health and social care.
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