A new blended learning programme for Anaesthesia Associates will be launched at University College London and Lancaster University, Health Education England (HEE) has announced today.
Anaesthesia Associates (AAs) are highly trained, skilled practitioners who work as part of the team under the direction and supervision of a Consultant Anaesthetist.
The blended learning programmes will be available from the beginning of 2023 and, combined with the new national funding model for AAs, this commissioned development will support the growth of the AA workforce over the next two years.
University College of London has been commissioned to develop a programme covering London, the South East, South West, Midlands and East of England, while Lancaster University will cover North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber.
The blended learning programme for Anaesthesia Associates - one of the Medical Associate Professions - uses a combination of learning approaches supported by proven, virtual and augmented digital technologies.
Online, remote access to the programme will make it more accessible to those who may be unable to learn in traditional ways. This approach will help widen access to the learning, encourage participation and support growth of the Anaesthesia Associate workforce.
Patrick Mitchell, Senior Responsible Officer for Medical Associate Professions, and Director of Innovation, Digital and Transformation, Health Education England said: “We are delighted to announce the successful award of the commission for this important programme.
“This new blended learning programme will ensure broader national coverage of education provision, making learning more accessible and widening participation. In turn, this will play a vital role in expanding the workforce pipeline and ultimately supporting the delivery of objectives set forth in the NHS Long Term Plan, helping to ensure the continuity of quality care.”
Professor David Walker, a Professor of Perioperative Medicine and Anaesthesia at UCL’s Division of Surgery & Interventional Science said: “The Anaesthetic Associate MSc here at UCL are so pleased to be awarded this HEE funding which will allow us to consolidate what promises to be a great course.
“This is an opportunity to work closely with HEE, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the GMC to ensure the growth and development of this much needed professional group of healthcare workers.
“We hope to bring our experience of developing healthcare programmes to produce an engaging and exciting course and look forward to working with students and clinical supervisors from across the UK in the near future.”
Head of Lancaster Medical School, Professor Marina Anderson, said: “At a time of such pressure on our NHS, there is an urgent need for innovation in our healthcare workforce in order to support the best care for the nation's health. HEE's initiative to train more anaesthesia associates across England is part of working differently to deliver excellent, efficient, equitable healthcare.
"Lancaster University Medical School is delighted to be working with HEE, partner NHS Trusts and statutory bodies on this important enterprise.”
HEE regional offices will be contacting NHS trusts in the coming weeks with further information about programme application, enrolment and start dates and support to link with other initiatives.
For public enquiries about national AA workforce and education workstreams, please contact MAPS@hee.nhs.uk