NHS workers are amongst the most highly skilled and compassionate people. We applaud their dedication and resolve. Sadly, staff have not had the support needed to keep up with the growing challenges faced by the NHS.

You may be surprised to hear that the NHS is the world’s largest employer of highly skilled professionals and the biggest employer in Europe. 1.3 million people across the health service in England are devoting their working lives to caring for others. So, how do staff currently feel about working for the NHS?

Keeping people proud to work in the NHS

Three-quarters of respondents to the 2017 staff survey reported they are enthusiastic about their job, and nine in 10 agreed their role makes a difference to patients and service users. Staff retention is key to maintaining workforce levels and creating an environment that provides support and development over the next 10 years is essential to its success.

Interestingly, one of the main reasons people leave is that they do not receive the development and career progression that they need. Career progression opportunities are motivating and provide the skills needed to operate at higher levels of professional practice. These are just some of the reasons the staff development can be expected to deliver a high return on investment. We know that HEE has committed to increase the proportion of its total budget spent on workforce development in the short-term, with a focus on primary care and community settings. However, support from employers is also essential in order to ensure staff are given the time out needed to develop their skills. Investment in CPD is expected to increase over the next five years.

How do apprenticeships fit in?

Apprenticeships offer important opportunities for the NHS workforce. They provide career opportunities for staff to develop their skills and strengthen their commitment to the NHS. The NHS Long Term Plan suggests “NHS organisations should look to take on the lead employer model, setting up the infrastructure to deliver apprenticeships on behalf of several trusts, and providing training and education.” The promise is to grow wider apprenticeships in clinical and non-clinical jobs in the NHS, encouraging employers to offer all entry-level jobs as apprenticeships before considering other recruitment options.

How can the PMA help?

Individual development is supported by a range of apprenticeship standards and PMA diploma courses. The diplomas are an ideal way to enhance the skills and knowledge required to further careers and attain an internationally recognised qualification. There are options for everyone, regardless of current levels of experience.

The PMA encourage Levy NHS Trusts to support GP Foundations in developing its partner base through the sharing of Levy funds. Quite often we hear that Trusts simply can’t spend all of its Levy and by seizing this opportunity, it is possible to make a real difference in improving services, patient satisfaction, raising staff competence and motivation.

Organisations that pay the apprenticeship Levy can now transfer up to 10% of its apprenticeship funds to other organisations to pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment. Following the Chancellor’s October 2018 Budget, this will rise to 25% from April 2019. In real terms, this breaks down to an extra £90 million of Government funding to enable Levy employers to invest a quarter of their apprenticeship funds on people working for businesses in their supply chain – up from 10% previously – boosting the number able to benefit from high-quality apprenticeship training.

ESFA has recently published information on how the transfer process will work and the kinds of planning activities to consider when transferring some funds to another employer.

ESFA Guidance – Transferring unused apprenticeship funds to other employers

HEE Register of Interest

If Trusts are interested in transferring up to 10% of their Levy, and other organisations are interested in receiving it, they can register with HEE who can assist in matching them. Please contact talentforcare@hee.nhs.uk  or speak to your regional relationship manager who is also able to broker introductions.

Source material https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/ 

If you would like more information, please contact the PMA Team at enquiries@practicemanagersuk.org