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Case Study – Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (1 of 4)

New qualification created with an integrated approach to gain national recognition for a Nail Carer role to help patients discharged from Trust podiatry services

In order to reduce waiting times and provide a better service to those needing more complex care, South Birmingham NHS Trust’s (now part of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) podiatry services discharged more than 4,000 patients who simply required their nails cutting.

The Trust was keen to find a way to support these low-risk patients, and, working with Birmingham Metropolitan College, devised a training course for Nail Carers. A basic course was designed and launched, and the trained Nail Carers were supported by an NHS-funded podiatry helpline. As demand for Nail Carers grew, it became clear that if the course could be accredited, it could be offered around the country in a standardised and quality assured manner, both for independent practitioners and people already working in the health and social care sectors who want to increase their skills.


  • The mass discharge of podiatry patients from the NHS reduced waiting times from almost 2 years to 4-6 weeks for routine care the Nail Carer role has inspired the creation of an accredited Level 2 Award in Nail Cutting and Care for those already working in the health and social care sector have an opportunity to add to their transferable skills, and previously unqualified people can benefit from achievable and affordable training.
  • The energy, effort, and resources that South Birmingham NHS Trust put into producing the role and the Level 2 award has brought added value to the whole health sector.

The Trust involved our workforce development experts, who have recognised expertise in qualifications, role, and skills development in the health sector. The organisation uses a range of tools to help develop and redesign roles, including a Transferable Role Template, which lists the National Occupational Standards, career framework level, the scope of the role, and the learning and development required. Skills for Health works with stakeholders and partners in the development of roles and qualifications to ensure a recognisable and standard approach that is transferable across the health sector.

In addition, it has the ability to raise issues at the national level and involve Awarding Organisations. With the support of our team here at Skills for Health, the stakeholders from South Birmingham PCT (now NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG), Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and Birmingham Metropolitan College created and refined a Transferable Role Template for the Nail Carer role.

“Working with workforce consultants from Skills for Health was fundamental to the success of getting the qualification accredited. We wouldn’t have got there without them facilitating at every step, from supporting us with the paperwork to bringing in the awarding organisations.”

Amanda Cadge, Podiatry Clinical, and Professional Lead, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Our consultants brought together the Birmingham stakeholders and Awarding Organisations. Using a number of resources, including the Transferable Role Template, the Awarding Organisations developed new qualification units mapped to the National Occupational Standards and accredited a new qualification structure to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

It emerged as a Level 2 Award in Nail Cutting and Care, a 12-credit qualification. The energy, effort, and resources that South Birmingham NHS Trust put into producing the role and the Level 2 award has brought added value to the whole health sector.

As the UK’s Sector Skills Council for health, we help health sector employers across the UK optimise the potential of their workforce. Our proven solutions address not just improved productivity but also the quality of health and healthcare.