New strengthened training standards for healthcare support workers in the Welsh NHS have been unveiled by the Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford.
Healthcare support workers make up a large part of the NHS Wales workforce, working alongside nurses and other healthcare professionals. The new framework will apply to clinical healthcare support workers in nursing, midwifery and allied health professional roles from April 1, 2016.
It is based on national occupational standards and competences and introduces a common set of standards for training and education, recognising the skills, knowledge and experience of individuals as they develop in their role. The framework’s development has been led by Philippa Ford, from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
It has been designed to provide the foundation for healthcare support workers’ practice and to be the route to career progression, whether this is an on-the-job requirement or a personal aspiration.
Professor Drakeford said: "Healthcare support workers are a significant part of our NHS workforce and make a valuable contribution to service delivery in both clinical and non-clinical services.
“In my response to the Health Professional Education Investment review, I said that workforce design and development is among the most powerful levers we possess in creating a prudent healthcare system.
“The review focussed on the need to invest in our current workforce and to provide opportunities for all healthcare workers to develop their skills and careers through recognition and accreditation of the work they undertake on a daily basis while they look after patients
“The new NHS Wales Skills and Career Development Framework for Healthcare Support Workers will help ensure this happens for this very important group of staff.”
The new framework is being taken forward in phases – the first is designed to support clinical healthcare support workers. Work will continue on the next phase of the framework, which is aimed at supporting non-clinical healthcare support workers and identifying how social care support workers and healthcare support workers can be integrated into a single framework.
During this period of further development, NHS organisations will have an opportunity to focus on the development of existing staff before the framework becomes mandatory from April 1, 2018.