Addressing workforce challenges is a priority for North Central London STP. Cheryl Samuels, deputy director of workforce - STP education and training, at North London Partners in Health and Care reflects on how working collaboratively can transform the staff experience across the system.
Making changes to the way we deliver training across the system enables staff to move between organisations, enhancing their opportunities for career progression, as well as enabling organisations across the system to support each other in times of need. This can only be achieved through real cultural change and commitment from the top of organisations collectively through to operational leads who are the catalysts for change.
Improving the experience of the 40,000 staff working in health across North Central London STP (NCL) has been critical to us addressing the workforce challenges that we face as a system. NCL recognises that there is a series of building blocks required to support new models of care, cross-sector working and transforming care pathways. It is recognised that one of the first steps is to ensure that staff are trained to the same standard in preparation for working together to serve the population of NCL. It is in this guise that we have worked to standardise and simplify our processes and procedures, ensuring staff and patients are at the heart of what we do.
Across NCL we have taken a collaborative approach to mandatory and statutory training (MaST). We’ve optimised our usage of the electronic staff record (ESR) system, leading to an ability to streamline and incorporate better housekeeping and processes. We have established consistent MaST standards, aligned our systems and automated as many functions to reduce variation and gain greater consistency across all NCL trusts, which in turn has created greater flexibility for staff to complete their training.
The work we are doing across NCL focuses on real cultural change that inspires HR and training teams to make life easier for staff, for example enabling staff to log in remotely to access training at times that suit them. We emphasise the importance of completing MaST training meaning that staff moving in and around NCL have a consistent expectation to complete MaST prior to joining any other NCL organisation, which starts to set the tone and change the culture to one that puts the responsibility on individuals.
As part of improving the staff experience, NCL seized the opportunity to work with UKONS, Capital Nurse and lead cancer nurses to enable improved portability of the Systematic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) Passport. The SACT Passport has since been adopted nationally and through collaboration has been successful in enabling training to be recorded nationally on ESR from 19 February 2019, making it easy for evidence of training and competence to be passed on to a new employer when the clinician moves jobs via the IAT (inter-authority) process. As a result, there no longer needs to be a delay in clinicians being able to start, for example, administering chemo medicines in a new role because the new employer has evidence that the clinician is competent and there is no need to repeat training, wasting valuable time and resources.
Changing how we use systems supports new models of care and gives us the flexibility within our existing workforce to deliver integrated care through models that enable us to share staff. We are currently piloting a six-month project with Whittington Healthcare Trust and Haringey and Islington Training Hubs, to consider an effective way of delivering MaST across the system provided by community and general practice colleagues.
This is an opportunity to prepare the groundwork for future sharing of staff, new care models and standardising the level of training enjoyed by staff in both community and general practice settings on some core subjects. The pilot launched on 5 August 2019 and is supported by ESR through utilising unused capacity using their live system. This has supported a streamlined approach to managing bookings across sectors increasing take-up in training places.
The North London Partners programme, led by Haringey and Islington CEPNs, will support NCL general practice staff to access the classroom training they require as part of the Whittington Health Mandatory and Statutory Training Programme in a standardised way, locally and free. The training will enable multi-professional learning, building understanding of other colleagues’ roles and create a system-wide set of credentials. This is an excellent example of collaborative working across sectors which impacts over 70 practices raising consistency, increasing skills and knowledge and providing value for money.
North London Partners is proactively working collaboratively to positively impact the health and social care system. The system-wide approach means we eliminate duplication, where possible, and use technology, where appropriate, to create flexibility in the workforce that attracts and retains the best talent by creating interesting career opportunities through enabling true portability across our area.
Cheryl Samuels is deputy director of workforce - STP education and training at North London Partners in Health and Care. Follow NCL activity on Twitter @nclstp