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Talent for care - GET ON

The GET ON section of the Talent for Care strategy is about valuing support staff, and getting formal recognition through nationally consistent standard. 

The strategic intentions related to this are to:

  • Challenge and support every NHS employer and contractor to implement a development programme for all support staff that is over and above annual appraisals and mandatory training.
  • All new healthcare support workers and adult social care workers to achieve the new Care Certificate, which will be introduced in March 2015; and, for those that want it, a universally recognised Higher Care Certificate.
  • Double the number of HEE funded or supported apprenticeships by March 2016 and establish an NHS apprenticeship offer to rival the best in the country.

The career progression team in KSS is driving the TfC Get On Strategy forward by increasing the uptake of apprenticeships for existing staff by NHS organisations, identifying career progression pathways for existing support workforce through higher level apprenticeships, foundation degrees, etc. and delivering the Care Certificate across the region.

Our work with foundation degrees and assistant practitioners is led by Jayne Thwaites, Health & Social Care Pre-employment Coordinator of Sussex, a registered nurse and qualified teacher with experience of developing the unregistered clinical workforce within a large integrated Trust. Jayne has led on a number of projects including the piloting and implementation of the Care Certificate and the introduction of clinical apprenticeships across the multi -disciplinary team. She is currently on secondment from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to Health Education England and based at Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust.

An assistant practitioner is a worker who competently delivers health and social care to and for people. They have a required level of knowledge and skill beyond that of the traditional healthcare assistant or support worker.” (Skills for Health 2015)

The assistant practitioner role (sometimes referred to as an associate practitioner) has been developed to provide high quality care in response to organisational need and in areas where there is a skills shortage or recruitment difficulties. It is an unregistered, non-occupationally specific role that can cross various professional boundaries. Assistant practitioners work autonomously within clearly defined parameters and a specific scope of practice to deliver health and social care. This may include tasks previously undertaken by registered professionals e.g., nurses, radiographers and occupational therapists.

Following completion of a foundation degree studied at university or a Level 5 apprenticeship, which is a competency based qualification assessed in the workplace,
assistant practitioners can work in a range of departments within health and social care e.g. GP surgeries, care homes, operating theatres, radiography, stroke units and emergency departments.

Health Education England, working across Kent, Surrey and Sussex is working in partnership with local NHS organisations, universities and training providers to support the development of this role.

For further information about the level 5 assistant practitioner standard contact Jayne Thwaites at Jayne.Thwaites@hee.nhs.uk.

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