What is the CSTF? – The Acronym You Should Look Out For


By Skills for Health | 11 April 2019

In the healthcare sector, undergoing statutory and mandatory training is essential. Whether you work in a major hospital or a care home setting; are a generalist or a specialist; newly-trained or experienced; working at the front-line or in a support role – any employer (permanent or not) needs to know that you have up-to-date training. If you work with multiple employers or agencies, you’ll probably have been asked about this several times, as well as being asked to show your certificates and asked the question: “Was this training aligned to the CSTF”? But what does this mean?


What is the CSTF?

The Core Skills Training Framework (CSTF)® is a collection of recommendations that cover the key statutory and mandatory training subjects for many roles in the health sector. It describes the key learning outcomes that any training should include and how often it should take place (including refresher periods). The CSTF is a common framework to guide healthcare organisations when they design and plan statutory and mandatory training, and over the last 10 years, has become the trusted benchmark for healthcare professionals. The aim is to ensure that training standardised across the UK and focused on the needs that are common to all roles. These are minimum expected standards, and many healthcare organisations may have their own more detailed standards.


Where did it come from?

Originally launched in 2013, the CSTF is derived from national guidelines and legislation. It was developed in collaboration with industry experts and professional bodies, such as the Resuscitation Council, the Infection Prevention Society, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Skills for Health continues to maintain and update the framework, with the new publication set for release in April 2024


Why should trusts and healthcare providers look out for it?

As well as providing guidance when they develop training programmes, the CSTF acts as the trusted benchmark for statutory and mandatory training.


Why agencies and training providers look out for it

For locum agencies, recruitment agencies or commercial training companies that provide training in the statutory and mandatory subjects, it means that they too can use the CSTF documentation to plan their training programmes. Increasingly often, the purchasing consortia (private and NHS), who are buying training services or asking an agency to supply personnel, will specify training aligned to the CSTF as a requirement.


What does it mean for you?

If the training that you received from a previous employer was benchmarked to the CSTF, a new employer knows straight away what the content would have covered. So, if you work with multiple employers and/or agencies and your CSTF competency has been recorded and transferred, this will help to reduce the amount of duplicate training. If you’re returning to the workforce and need to arrange refresher training, looking for a training provider who has aligned their training to the CSTF would be a smart move. You can even download the CSTF subject guides and see for yourself what the training should cover.


Benefits of the CSTF

  • Provides a national ‘benchmark’ for the content of statutory/mandatory training
  • Sets out minimum learning outcomes, frequency of refresher training and links to relevant legislation or expert guidance
  • Can be used by any healthcare employer in the UK including NHS, independent healthcare providers and educational organisations
  • Standardises the interpretation and delivery of statutory/mandatory training

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