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Supply Improvement Programme

In 2014/15 we carried out a fundamental review of nurse education in order to assure ourselves that our programmes meet existing healthcare requirements both now and in the future.  The interim report for the review can be found here.

The review involved collecting evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and collating this into streams of work which, when implemented, would improve nurse education. The work from the review is recognised in the national Shape of Caring Review, and the implementation phase is called the Supply Improvement Programme; as it aims to improve the supply of nurses with the right skills.




The Supply Improvement Programme workstreams are:

  1. Train nurses faster - new routes into nurse education
  2. Train more nurses – developing a quality clinical learning environment
  3. Employ more newly qualified nurses – maximising supply through education
  4. Working together across a STP area to maximise supply
  5. Increase Workforce Versatility

 It is important to note that the SIP work can be implemented in a range of settings such as primary care and may also have implications for the supply of other non-medical staff groups. An overview of the context and content of the SIP can be found here.


Train nurses faster: new routes into nurse education

Flexible Nursing Pathway

This pathway is for staff with a Foundation Degree and takes 18 months to complete. Staff can ‘earn as they learn’ to complete this work based pathway.  It is likely that this programme will eventually merge with the nursing apprenticeship model, when it is in place.

For a quick introduction see the slide deck (here).  To find out more about the programme read the Good Practice Guide (here) or watch the videos: 'Why is the Flexible Nursing Pathway Important'  and 'Flexible Nursing Pathway', in which students from Provide explain what it is like to be on the programme.

Routes into Flexible Nursing Pathway

We have developed a Step on/Step off Grow Your Own Pathway for nurses in line with Talent for Care and have the core outcomes for a regional nursing Foundation Degree.

Sponsored MSc Programme

These programmes take two years to complete. Trusts can sponsor employees onto the programme and tie them into employment contracts.  A pre-nursing programme is designed for those with no clinical experience. This programme is important as it allows employers to develop a supply pipeline from graduates who may be already employed in the health service but in not care related jobs.

For a quick introduction see the slide deck (here).  To find out more about the programme, read the Good Practice Guide (here) or watch the video where a deputy director of Nursing, an HEI Programme Director and two students explain the benefits.

Train more nurses: developing a quality clinical learning environment

As we move into self-funded nurse education there is the potential to recruit more student nurses; however evidence shows that the quality of the clinical learning environment is a key factor in retaining students on the programme and ensuring they are competent and confident upon graduation.  We have piloted three new approaches to coaching and mentorship that improve the capacity and quality of the Clinical Learning Environment. The learning from these pilots has been distilled into a set of principles that can be implemented in a range of settings.

For a quick introduction see the slide deck (here). To find out more about the programme read the Good Practice Guide (here) or watch the videos on CliP and PEBLS.

We have collated slide decks on implementing the new models in a Community or Mental Health  setting and these are supplemented by more detailed videos which describe the model in community and mental health settings.

Additional resources:


Employ more newly qualified nurses – maximising supply through education

It is vital that all the staff we support through education are seen as future employees of the health system and this will become increasingly important as self-funded education gives rise to the potential to train more students.

For a quick introduction see the slide deck (here).   The Good Practice Guide (here) collates best practice from across the east of England and describes how a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) footprint can build the ‘employment chain’ into their workforce strategy using the self-assessment checklist. The talking heads videos (on a playlist here)  feature directors of nursing from across the east of England describing how they have used the guidance to increase employment.

Working together across a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) area to maximise supply

The move from a funded and commissioned model of pre-registration healthcare education to a self-funded model presents a number of challenges and opportunities to service providers. There will be an open market for recruitment which could potentially see gains in some areas but losses in others – particularly areas where student recruitment is already an issue. The Norfolk, Suffolk and North East Essex Directors of Nursing (DoNs) Group have invested considerable resources in creating a new business model for these new ways of working which allows opportunities to be maximised.

For a quick introduction see the slide deck (working across an STP area to maximise Supply) or read the Good Practice Guide for more detail.

Increase Workforce Versatility

The role of the Assistant Practitioner offers significant versatility in roles within organisations, or across health and care.  The Assistant Practitioners Good Practice Guide gives detail about governance and examples of good practice.  The videos below feature assistant practitioners talking about their work: 

For additional information see the supporting documents below:


Contact Details:  

Chris Sykes -  Christine.sykes@hee.nhs.uk

Bands 1-4: Sarah Gooch – sarah.gooch@hee.nhs.uk


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