Image: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.Mental Health Case-study Series (Bands 1-4)

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is committed to building a responsive, learning framework that matches the organisation’s needs regarding its Bands 2 and 3 Healthcare Support Workers (HCSW). This also informs a strategy document which aims to shape the development of the Trust’s support workforce.

The challenge

Exploring the Support Staff Landscape

In order to achieve this, the Trust set out three aims; assess support staff competences and the educational provision for them, understand support staff policy agenda and changes on a local, regional and national level, and finally, translate those findings into meaningful action.

Sourcing Expertise and Extra Capacity

The Trust commissioned Skills for Health to provide expertise and extra capacity in the delivery of three workshops; one in Leeds, one in York, and a final one to consolidate both group’s findings.  The workshops were tasked with developing core competences for the Trust’s 1000 HCSWs.

Staff at the Trust appeared to value being a part of the process. Over 40 made time to take an active role in the workshops; matching the organisation’s Band 2 and 3 role requirements against National Occupational Standards, as well as the newly introduced Care Certificate.

Skills for Health encouraged the formation of a support staff steering group, bringing together people from across the Trust to discuss and address the issues. They also facilitated key stakeholder involvement in Health Education Yorkshire and Humber’s over-arching, multi-trust steering group; enabling access to other organisations’ experiences.

How they did it

Having identified the long list of competences required for each role the Trust’s next step was to cross match them against currently available educational provision. This will now be carried out in-house and some gaps have already been flagged during the workshops, such as the lack of mental health awareness training in the induction process.

Once completed the team will have the information they need to tailor Diploma qualifications and other training on offer, ensuring learning meets the specific, competence-based demands of each HCSW role, and draw up progression routes for staff.

Incorporating Apprenticeships

The Regional steering group set up by Health Education York and Humber and Skills for Health has also become an invaluable place to discuss the Trust’s successful new apprenticeship scheme, an area that feeds into the ongoing healthcare support workforce and education project.

Image: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The outcomes

Four individuals from the first cohort have already been taken on as permanent HCSWs in the Trust. They launched a new project in the mainstream mental health services with provision for 10 apprentices to start in April 2015. The hope is that they can then be directly recruited into Band 2 or 3 HCSW posts.

Other achievements so far include…

  • Drivers reviewed to inform career framework of HCSWs from induction and then HCSW progression into nursing
  • Education provision, qualification standards and career framework linked to succession and workforce plan
  • Competences identified for generic support worker roles at Career Framework Levels 2 and 3
  • Suitable learning and Care Certificate standards identified for development
  • Development of Trust’s apprenticeship strategy supported
  • Senior managers supported to engage with apprenticeship pilot.

Lessons Learned

With so much achieved, and so much more to do, the team has learned some valuable lessons along the way. Work needs to be meaningfully resourced, it’s vital that new core competences can be effectively presented in a meaningful and usable way, don’t lose sight of long-term priorities, and perhaps most importantly…

“The aspiration is that three aspects work together seamlessly; what the Trust’s needs are, mapped to the staff groups’ needs, and then ensuring the qualifications provided deliver for both.”

Jo Third, Education and Training Manager

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