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HEE Roles Explorer


Challenges in workforce redesign

Across England, each region, integrated care system and health and care provider has its own, individual workforce challenges. No healthcare system is the same, and these challenges often require tailored solutions. With so many competing priorities, and the ever-present need to deliver value for money within public services, finding these solutions can be incredibly complex. The HEE Roles Explorer supports employers and healthcare systems to navigate the innovative adaptation of roles and the introduction of new roles.

“Innovative roles: Our existing NHS people have taken on new roles. For example, healthcare scientists have been deployed into critical care roles in Nightingale hospitals. Physiotherapists supporting intensive care units (ICUs) have been upskilled to carry out respiratory-related assessment and treatment – improving relationships across multidisciplinary teams and increasing appreciation of each other’s skills. Advanced clinical practitioners have also stepped up, contributing valuable clinical support in critical care and emergency medicine.”

Page 11,   We are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/21

What is the HEE Roles Explorer?

The HEE Roles Explorer is a collection of resources to support those responsible for planning and delivering workforce redesign.

The resources are for use when introducing new roles, or innovative adaptations to existing roles already being deployed within a service or system.

For those delivering workforce redesign, the Roles Explorer is designed to:

  • Provide inspiration and alternatives when designing the optimum skill mix.

  • Explore the capabilities, training requirements and career frameworks for different roles.

  • Support you to choose the best fit for your service model.

  • Develop new staffing models to fit new ways of delivering care. 

  • Provide a range of resources to support the introduction of new roles, including best practice for planning methods and case studies which illustrate how roles are being deployed in each of the core system priorities (e.g. mental health and primary care).

The NHS is facing increasing demands from population growth, to increasingly complex healthcare needs.  This requires the redesign and transformation of our services and our workforce, to ensure that care is delivered efficiently, effectively and safely. The HEE Star outlines five key enablers of workforce transformation, one of which is the introduction of new roles into the workforce. This is often the most expensive solution and can take significant time to implement successfully, but there is much learning  already to share, to support providers of health and care services to get it right. The HEE Roles Explorer is a collection of resources to inspire workforce skill mix and support the introduction of new or alternative roles; helping those responsible for workforce redesign to explore, plan, deliver and sustain a different workforce for a different future’.

Kirstie Baxter, Head of Workforce Transformation at HEE

Get access to Roles Explorer

The HEE Roles Explorer is a workspace hosted on the FutureNHS platform. This is a membership only site. If you are already a member, please enter your log in details and navigate to ‘workspaces’, search for ‘HEE Roles Explorer’ and click on ‘request to join’. If you are not already a member, you will be required create an account before following the steps above. Once complete, you will be able to access the Roles Explorer seamlessly on future visits. If you experience any issues, please contact transformation@hee.nhs.uk

Are you looking for a new role?

The HEE Roles Explorer is targeted at employers and those leading workforce redesign in the NHS and social care. If you are looking for a new role in health or care, go to the Health Careers website.


What workforce redesign leaders say

Throughout these pages, we have shared a number of examples of developed and evaluated approaches to introducing and sustaining roles when redesigning the health and care workforce. Tap the plus sign of the case studies below to read more.

“In my role I am responsible for ensuring we have a sustainable healthcare workforce both now and in the future. As part of that we overcome supply challenges by piloting and deploying innovative workforce solutions. An example is support for a system wide People Hub which operates a bank of staff critical in supporting workforce gaps across all care settings.

Widening participation is a big part of my work, using system wide apprenticeship schemes we have introduced new roles into care. We are a Cornerstone Employer for the NHS, meaning we work with a cluster of secondary schools and colleges in careers hubs, to support careers provision in the area. Their goal is to ensure all young people in an area have the opportunities they need to be prepared and inspired for the world of work. Examples of new apprenticeship roles have included system wide Mental Health and End of Life apprenticeships. Staffordshire is now on their second cohort of their System Health and Social Care Apprenticeship.

When approaching the introduction of new apprenticeship roles into system wide provider settings there are a few things I would recommend. Work with as many different community groups and education settings as you can to promote the roles, this will give you an inclusive workforce representative of the community it serves. Ensure that you have appropriate clinical representation when developing a career pathway. Have good partnerships with different organisations; for our apprenticeship work we collaborated with six providers, a host employer and had strong relationships with local colleges to pilot courses and make them relevant. Finally, do not underestimate the amount of pastoral care and wider support that those taking up the roles will require, in the case of apprentices who are often young people we worked with the whole family."

“ImROC (Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change) works in partnership with communities to develop systems, services and cultures that support recovery and wellbeing for all. When we established ImROC in 2009, we made peer support a key tenet of our approach to creating recovery-focused organisations.  Since that time, we have worked with many different organisations, developing a comprehensive pathway for developing peer workers and their employing organisations in the UK and internationally.

Peer support workers are the answer to a huge number of challenges facing healthcare at the moment.  They embody the possibility of recovery, so they inspire hope and reduce self-stigma, they offer time to build relationships within which people recognise their own strengths and skills.  They provide practical support to overcome day to day challenges and by sharing their own experiences and coping strategies they work together with others who have similar experiences to build solutions.   

We train people with their own lived experience to use their experience to safely and effectively support those going through similar challenges. The demand for this service is created by enabling those with experience to share it.

We are still at the beginning of the journey of introducing peer support in statutory services; we want to learn together and collaborate nationally for the Peer Support Worker role to be the best that it can be. The challenge is to ensure that we build on the expertise around mutual support that exists in our communities and in user-led community groups, in order to make the learning accessible, acceptable, and effective.”

“Nottinghamshire has an Integrated Care System (ICS) with the training hub having a recognised role for primary care in planning and delivering workforce change. I am a community nurse by background and currently my role is as a programme manager with Nottinghamshire Alliance Training Hub (NATH). I am also a part-time lecturer at Nottingham Trent University on undergraduate and post graduate clinical courses.

In Nottinghamshire, GP Federations are employing new roles in primary care and I am programme managing the training hub in delivering initiatives for the Additional Roles Re-imbursement Scheme (ARRS) for the area. We have developed tools, resources and governance processes for our Primary Care Networks (PCN) to support the introduction of the new roles, proposing a hub and spoke model for clinical supervision delivery. This shared responsibility means reduced risk and increases the potential for the introduction of the new roles to succeed.

To maximise the potential for success in a programme such as this I would recommend that you get everyone around the table from day one. Create an open and transparent space for honest discussion where everyone understands the roles and responsibilities of the project team and stakeholders, with actions that are clearly defined. Ensure all deadlines are understood to keep the programme on track. Finally deliver the change in bite sized chunks, recognise that you are delivering it for the long term, so it needs to have clear metrics and be evaluated as part of making the change sustainable."

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