An Academy to train Health Care Support Workers at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been launched at Telford College.
SaTH and partner organisations within the county’s health and care system have teamed up with the college to launch the six-month pilot programme which started on January 17.
The first two weeks of HCSWs’ training will be in the classroom, supplemented by further study days which will combine to create a preceptorship programme. At the end of six months, if successful, candidates will receive their Care Certificate.
Telford College has set up a skills lab, classroom, computer suite for the programme. Cohorts of about 32 will take part in the programme once a month.
Caroline Bastow, learner manager for higher education and access at Telford College, said: “We are completely renovating part of our campus to create a new industry-standard hospital suite to house the academy.
“There is a growing need for more healthcare assistants to work in both hospitals and care home settings, and this induction process will be transferable across multiple sites. By increasing the number of newcomers in the pipeline, it also provides career progression opportunities for existing health care assistants.”
Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at SaTH, said: “This exciting, innovative programme will provide our HCSWs with the essential skills they need when they commence working within the Trust.
“As part of this new initiative, the Trust has also created buddy training for existing HCSWs, thereby providing invaluable pastoral support and enabling health and wellbeing to be at the forefront of the programme.
It is hoped this new programme, incorporating relevant education and training, will ensure our HCSWs are retained here within the Trust, as they feel supported and invested in, by both the clinical areas and the Trust.
In addition, it is hoped the new preceptorship programme will create an appetite for health careers in Shropshire, encouraging candidates to follow a pathway to further nursing roles, whether that be as Nursing Associates or Registered General Nurses.
Rachel Armstrong, lead nurse for education and quality at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, said: “At the moment HCSWs have a three-day induction and this may not necessarily happen before they go into a clinical environment.
“It is difficult for them to get a Care Certificate signed off because they are trying to juggle the training with working clinically. We are hoping with this more structured approach it will better prepare them.”
The collaborative approach with other partners within the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System means all HCSWs will have the same training, regardless of whether they work in social care settings, the community or a hospital setting.