quote HEE facebook linkedin twitter bracketDetail search file-download keyboard-arrow-down keyboard-arrow-right close event-note

You are here

“They fit in with departmental needs” – on the clinical endoscopist training programme

Ed Seward is a Consultant Gastroenterologist, responsible for training nurse endoscopists that come through the department at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

He also teaches on the Health Education England (HEE) clinical endoscopist training programme. This 30 week programme has been designed to teach NMC Adult Nurses and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered healthcare professionals to perform safe diagnostic procedures in either upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.

We spoke to Ed about the training programme and the impact it has had on his organisation.

“Prior to the HEE programme we trained nurse endoscopists in house. For both the organisation and the trainees involved, the experience wasn’t a smooth journey and our trainee workforce often found themselves isolated. Although the technical aspects of scoping were taught, the trainees were not trained in the entire pathway and as a result there were several gaps.

“Recently, we’ve put trainees through the HEE programme. With this, our trainees have a support system in place, guaranteed access to training lists for the practical experience, academic lectures and are trained and supported on all aspects of endoscopy. The experience both for the us as an organisation and the trainees has been extremely positive.

“For the trainees, the programme offers a clear structure and fantastic support system which has been an important element. With this trained workforce, we have a more flexible and dedicated staff pool who can backfill lists and assist with waiting times particularly when our gastroenterologists’ skills are needed more urgently elsewhere. For our patients, our nurse endoscopists bring something slightly different to the whole patient experience.

“The skillset of the department has vastly improved. We now have individuals dedicated to endoscopy and in many respects, they function like any other endoscopist. They are not scoping all the time, but they offer greater flexibility in the department, including running pre assessment services and supporting other functions. This makes the role both more interesting for them and useful for the department as they fit in with departmental needs. The volume of lists they contribute towards is tremendous allowing us to plan for a 4% year on year increase in service demand. Workforce planning wise, I have greater confidence in managing capacity as a result of our organisation being involved in this programme.

“Finding training lists can be a challenge, especially when you have other trainees within your department to consider, but as long as the department is well organised and plans ahead, this become a moot point. Trainees learn quickly as a result of the concentrated training the result being a highly trained and efficient workforce.

“The speed at which you can teach someone to scope has been a wonderful surprise and we’ve continued to invest in their training following the programme. We want these valued members of staff to continue to grow and expand their skillset just as much as they want to develop. As a result, many of our clinical endoscopists have gone on to advanced endoscopy courses.

“Organisations new to this may be fearful thinking that trainees will leave after completing the programme, but HEE have helpfully put rules in place, and staff retention has not been an issue for us. We run a competitive process ahead of time, inviting applicants to interview for the trainee positions – from these we know who fantastic trainees and assets to our department will be and more widely our organisation.

“You only need to put one person through the programme to see the benefits straight away, whether it be financial, that on patient experience or on waiting times - a small investment now certainly pays dividends later. It’s worth it.”