23rd February 2016 Written by Catriona Curry National Programme Manager – Talent for Care
Image: Catriona Curry.

40% of the NHS workforce, providing approximately 60% of direct patient contact and care, and yet receiving less than 5% of the training budget – this is our call to action.

For me, these statistics are a bold reminder of the contribution that the support workforce makes to patient care and service delivery every day. They re-emphasise just how critical it is to make sure we really value those people working in support roles and to actively demonstrate this by investing in them and their development. They highlight how vital high quality education and training is for this section of the workforce if we are to deliver patient care to the best standard.

This is where Talent for Care comes in, and why the #OurHealthHeroes campaign is so well placed to celebrate and recognise all that support workers do, day in, day out, to keep the healthcare system running.

Led by Health Education England, Talent for Care is the first ever national strategic framework for the development of the support workforce. It focuses its attention on three primary themes –opening up opportunities for people to begin their career in the NHS so they can Get In, supporting people to Get On and be the best they can be in their existing role, and providing opportunities for those with the ambition and potential to Go Further and progress their careers, including into registered professions.

Working with NHS employers across the country and partners including Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health, we are increasing both the quality and quantity of work experience opportunities in the NHS. Health Ambassadors are going into schools and colleges to inspire young people to think about healthcare careers. We’re developing and delivering apprenticeships across a huge range of professions, clinical and non-clinical, from entry level right through to degree. We’re leading on the implementation of the Care Certificate as a minimum level of training for all staff who are new to care. We’re working on alternative pathways for support staff to enter the registered professions and Higher Education. And we’re challenging employers to commit to investing in the education, training and development of their support staff, for the benefit of patients, the organisation and of course staff themselves.

#OurHealthHeroes fits perfectly into what Talent for Care is trying to achieve. It’s saying ‘thank you’ to the support staff who have been a part of your own healthcare journey or that of a loved one. It’s raising the profile of the thousands of brilliant support workers in the healthcare sector, many of whom go unnoticed but without whom the NHS could not function. And it’s recognising that investment in the training and development of these individuals is essential if we are to deliver a healthcare service safely, effectively and compassionately, both now and in the future.

You can support the campaign by sharing our film with your networks and tagging #OurHealthHeroes, and sharing your personal stories of support workers on Twitter using #OurHealthHeroes.

Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved here:

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