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Senior healthcare professionals voting at a Skills for Health consultation event believe that high level commitment and investment in skills transformation is critical to improving patient care.

The consultation – launched on 3rd April by Phil Hope, Minister for the East Midlands and Minister for the Third Sector - centred around the development of a new Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) for Health covering the region. Delegates from healthcare organisations across the East Midlands voted electronically to identify which issues were of most importance to them in relation to workforce skills.

A massive 97 per cent felt that obtaining high level commitment and investment in skills transformation was important or very important.
John Rogers, Chief Executive of Skills for Health said:

“In terms of improving productivity and services to meet patient demand the importance of skills cannot be underestimated. Given the looming war for talent, recruitment will become increasingly difficult as a wide range of industries compete to attract the skills they need.

“As a result, the importance of ensuring that we are maximising the skills and competences within the existing healthcare workforce has never been greater. Workforce modelling and development functions play a key role in helping to achieve this.

“By adopting a competence-based approach, existing skills can be identified and individuals given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. If we can successfully tap into this hidden talent we can help to fill skills gaps by creating new roles and finding new ways of working.

“Whilst in many cases senior management is already recognising this, it needs to be reflected in the level of support and resources made available to those involved in workforce modelling and development.”

Other areas delegates were keen to see included in the SSA action plan for the region included:

• the exploration of flexible work-based learning schedules – including e-learning and other flexible learning models – 92 per cent

• a robust range of competences to take forward effective competence-based workforce modeling/scenario planning to support the delivery of national and local service priorities – 91 per cent

• the development of new roles and career pathways to assist with the identification and escalation of skills – 91 per cent

• involvement in new educational developments and qualifications – such as the new 14-19 Diploma in Society Health and Development; health-related Apprenticeships and the Sector Qualifications Strategy – 91 per cent

• effective systems for information, advice and guidance for those considering healthcare as a career and to inform those already working in healthcare about the opportunities open to them – 82 per cent.

Having collated the wide range of existing Labour Market Intelligence available for the region and commissioned new research into the independent and voluntary sectors, Skills for Health also launched the first LMI report for the East Midlands at the consultation event. This was very timely, given that right at the top of the wish list - scoring 100 per cent amongst delegates - was the need for accurate and easily accessible LMI.

Anyone requiring a free hard copy of this LMI report should email Pippa Hodgson, Regional Director for the East Midlands at Skills for Health at pippa.hodgson@skillsforhealth.org.uk.

Ends

Notes to editors:

The East Midlands Sector Skills Agreement Consultation Event took place on Thursday, 3rd April at the Hilton Hotel, Northampton. Photography of Phil Hope MP and other key speakers is available on request from Louise Jaggs t: 01242 257770 or 07712 011246 e: louise@textontap.com

About the Sector Skills Agreement for Health (SSA) –

www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/ssa

Today’s event marks the beginning of the consultation process to inform the Sector Skills Agreement for Health in the East Midlands. The overarching Sector Skills Agreement for Health (SSA) is a UK-wide series of agreements, each brokered by Skills for Health. There are currently over 70 agreements incorporated; each of which supports the provision of best quality healthcare and services through the skills of those working in the sector.

The SSA’s aim is to achieve improved healthcare services by helping to ensure that the sector has a skilled, flexible workforce. The agreement spans the whole health sector footprint – covering NHS (HPSS), independent and voluntary employers. It sets out a strategy and solutions to tackle skills gaps and shortages in the healthcare sector so that patients receive the best possible care and the highest levels of service.

Outcomes of the SSA to date include: an emergent sector qualifications strategy; an emergent sector careers framework; closer working relationships with education funding bodies; strengthened partnership work between major bodies and agencies; application of competence-based approaches to workforce transformation; work to strengthen employer engagement; work to develop robust approaches to commissioning training and education; work to broaden access and progression into health sector careers; work on quality assurance; work to increase learning opportunities for previously excluded and disadvantaged employees.

For further information visit www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/ssa

About Skills for Health – www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Skills for Health (SfH) is the Sector Skills Council for UK health, funded by the four UK health departments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; the Sector Skills Development Agency; the education act regulatory bodies; and health sector employers and providers.

The 25 Sector Skills Councils which make up the Skills for Business Network are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in consultation with Ministers from the devolved administrations. Each one has a sector ‘footprint’ and central goals to address skills gaps and shortages; improve productivity and performance; increase opportunities to boost skills; and improve learning supply.

Skills for Health’s sector footprint covers the entire National Health Service, and the whole of the independent and voluntary healthcare sectors across the UK - which collectively employ approximately 2 million people. The majority of occupations are linked to hospital activities and community health services, but the sector also includes general medical and dental practitioners and healthcare professionals working in nursing homes and private surgeries, and retail outlets such as pharmacists, opticians and self-employed practitioners.

The overarching remit of Skills for Health is to ultimately help improve health and healthcare by assisting the whole healthcare sector in developing solutions which deliver a skilled and flexible UK workforce.

Specific Skills for Health aims are to:

- profile the UK healthcare sector workforce
- develop and manage national workforce competences across the UK healthcare sector
- influence UK education and training supply to meet healthcare sector needs
- improve the workforce skills of the UK healthcare sector
- work with partners to achieve these aims.

Further information about Skills for Health and its work can be found at www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Media contact:

Louise Jaggs, TextOnTap
+44 (0)1242 257770
+44 (0)7712 011246
louise@textontap.com
7th April 2008

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of On Tap Communications in the following categories: Health, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.