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Widening participation

Ensuring the healthcare workforce is representative of the communities it serves.


A culture of equality, inclusion and opportunity are central principles of the NHS Constitution.

By providing access to education, employment and development opportunities for under-represented individuals (and groups), we’re helping people realise their potential and in doing so, reducing cultural, social and economic disadvantage. This is ensuring a talented and diverse workforce, where development and progression is based upon a person’s ability and not their social background or effectiveness of their social networks.

Read more about the Widening Participation programme on our national page. This programme is also closely aligned with the Talent for Care strategy, which you can read more about on our national page.

HE NCEL are sponsoring a number of initiatives to promote widening participation in healthcare careers across our area.  This includes: 

  • On-going investment in Bands 1-4 staff within our service providers through our Direct Workforce Development Funding and dedicated additional investment in Healthcare Support Workers in Primary Care
  • Continued support to the Assistant / Associate Practitioner programme (APEL BSc Adult / Mental Health Nursing programme) at Middlesex University, which helps provide a structured pathway from Healthcare Assistant roles into registered nurse training, in addition to the targeted provision of salary support for existing staff wishing to undertake professional training
  • An expansion in apprenticeships to support the HEE Mandate requirement to double the number of apprenticeships in healthcare.

In addition, following consultation earlier this year, we look forward to supporting the implementation of the national Talent for Care strategic framework and the national Widening Participation Strategy, both of which we expect to be formally launched in November 2014. 

Valuing Healthcare Assistants (HCAs): There have been three ‘Valuing Healthcare Assistant’ events across the area to celebrate the roles played by HCAs in delivering great care and to promote the wide range of roles they can play as part of a wider healthcare team. The report from the event hosted by Middlesex University in March was published in the British Journal of Healthcare Assistants (May 2014), ‘Valuing the contribution of healthcare support staff’.

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