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Skills Enhancement in Rural Communities

The overall aim of this programme was to develop the community and primary care workforce to facilitate care closer to home through the provision of skills training as close to the working environment as possible, thereby enabling greater patient flow.

This Innovative Programme funded by Health Education England and delivered as part of the Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire LETC Workforce Development plan brought together Trusts from across the West Midlands to work collaboratively to deliver training needs locally. 

The programme ran over two phases, Phase 1 from May 2013 through to March 2014 and Phase 2 from April 2014 through to March 2015 and was designed to take clinical skills training to healthcare staff operating in rural communities. The overall aim was to develop the community and primary care workforce to facilitate the provision of care closer to home by providing the opportunity for up-skilling and continuing professional development.

A mobile clinical skills laboratory took clinical training out to healthcare staff in rural communities. The laboratory was equipped with clinical simulation equipment to facilitate the simulation of a clinical setting for teaching purposes. The laboratory could hold up to 12 professionals attending training as well as Clinical Skills Tutors.  All training was facilitated by Clinical Skills Tutors who were appointed by the respective organisations.

Phase One of the programme involved Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and Wye Valley NHS Trust. Phase Two included Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, Stafford & Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, Herefordshire CCG, Warwickshire North CCG, Telford and Wrekin CCG, Shropshire CCG, Stoke-on-Trent CCG and North Staffordshire CCG. Thus, there was an increased Primary Care focus in Phase Two and the scope also extended to include an exchange of Physical and Mental Health Skills.

The University of Worcester was comissioned to  undertake the evaluation of the programme as a whole, a full evaluation report of Phase 1 and Phase 2 is available with a supporting Executive Summary. The report describes the benefit that staff working in rural communities place on the use of a mobile clinical skills laboratory alongside the support of a clinical tutor and makes a number of recommendations to ensure optimum benefit and sustainability from the programme as a whole.  

A longitudinal study is currently being undertaken alongside an economic evaluation of the programme and these will be available in early 2016.

A dissemmination event was held in December 2015 with presentations from the day available upon request from Programme Manager, Shelley.Dhir@nhs.net

More infomation about this programme can be found in the related documents which cover: 


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