The NHS is a people-based organisation, existing to care for people. For all the potential of digital, that care is ultimately determined, and in the vast majority delivered, by people. Whichever way you look at it, people are at the heart of the NHS.
One of the key opportunities – and challenges – for the NHS is using, optimising and building the skills of its people. Skills will help drive and enable change and investment in learning will help sustain the NHS as an attractive career for the next generation.
How the skills in the NHS can be nurtured and developed in to help meet the needs of a changing healthcare environment can play a positive role in determining how the NHS develops in the future.
The People Plan sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS. It focuses on how we must all continue to look after each other and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as action to grow the workforce, train NHS people, and work together differently to deliver excellent patient care. Whilst all of these goals cannot be achieved overnight, we are committed to partnering with the NHS in order to help deliver on the People Promise and create robust and resilient public and private synergies.
When developing and designing solutions, Capita always puts people first. It is too easy to talk in terms of staff or workforce, but in reality, its about people, a wonderful diverse community of people all united by a common desire to care. ‘Looking After You Too’ is a Capita-procured coaching programme to support the NHS frontline as part of the suite of wellbeing measures put in place throughout the pandemic. Along with other purposeful interventions, it was designed to help provide a psychologically safe space for staff to talk openly, share issues, recharge and recover their resilience in order to cope with the demands of the job. It won an award at the HSJ Awards in 2021 and follows on from our existing successful GP and Practice Manager Coaching interventions aimed at addressing the attrition seen in recent years. We also worked with both NHS subject matter experts and academic partners to refresh the NHS health and wellbeing framework in 2021.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
Belonging in the NHS has been supported by the delivery of a series of recent recognising racism workshops across NHS England as well our award-winning Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) programme. These programmes were commissioned specifically to ensure that staff had both the awareness and the tools needed to role-model and contribute towards a more inclusive working environment. With these programmes, and the investment in the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian workforce and their training, the NHS will also have mechanisms in place to report concerns if staff feel that EDI is not being put at the heart of everything the NHS does for its people.
In 2015, Capita entered into a framework contract with NHS England and worked with them through the Joint Working Programme with NHS Improvement. Currently, we’re supporting the implementation of Integrated Care Boards and the creation of the new NHS England.Our ability to support the NHS, in both difficult and easy times, demonstrates our commitment to a partnership with UK Government.
We have seen an explosion in tactical facilitation and coaching interventions in the last 18 months – in support of, and alongside, Talent, Leadership and Lifelong Learning (TLLL) (formerly NHS Leadership Academy) – in response to the need for change and agility throughout the pandemic and as we help systems grow compassionately out from it.
We’ve partnered on bespoke programmes through our supply chain – and jointly won the Procurement Project of the Year at the HSJ Partnership Awards 2022 as well as scooping External Learning Solution of the Year with the Dept of Health & Social Care at the LPI Awards 2022 too. Both awards are testament to our commitment towards shaping a better future for the NHS.
With a relationship spanning the apprenticeship levy, we recognise that traditional training budgets have been squeezed in favour of using levy funds, therefore we offer a focused and practical range of apprenticeships and funded digital skills bootcamps to support colleagues across the health sector as we recognise that it’s consistent access to quality learning that’s important to power the workforce of an organisation.
Access to digital learning
The use of digital learning plays a huge role in addressing accessibility in the most cost-effective way (development excepted, of course), allowing the entire organisation to digest the learning when it suits them, and as many times as necessary. Transcripts, multi-lingual translation, closed captions, voiceover and subtitles – all are possible with digital learning – something that cannot be said for traditional forms of learning at point of delivery.
Most learning solutions will start with a ’discovery’ phase which plays a vital role in ensuring that precious funds are correctly allocated to a learning solution for your workforce. Test and Trace was a great example of where timely and careful challenges informed rapid decision-making which resulted in a successful outcome that benefited areas we didn’t even know existed when we started.
Technology and digital are often seen as a panacea, but we need to be careful here: they are one of the most effective tools in the war for learner engagement, but like cheques and cash, traditional learning delivery models will always retain some residual value because, as we have consistently stressed, learning should always be about the learner. Organisations, now more than ever, need to cater for differing learning styles if they are to leverage the potential of their workforce.
Together with NHS England, Health Education England, and NHS Digital, we’re ensuring that on-demand, digitally-led learning products are accessible for colleagues to ensure they get the learning they need.
A people-centric approach is central to ensuring NHS colleagues develop the right skills both to enable the NHS today and to help enable the organisation to meet the challenges and demands of tomorrow.
Developing new ways of working and delivering care requires employing the skills that are available today and identifying and cultivating future skills. Whether it’s upskilling or re-skilling via funded or paid-for training, learning and development has a role to play in both recruitment and retention of the workforce in the NHS. It’s a sustained, multi-disciplinary approach that will get the job done. Our ability to deliver partnership-based workforce development, including bespoke solutions and technology enablement, offers NHS organisations at all levels a powerful and sustainable tool for meeting their workforce development challenges. In our view, our work is not simply to deliver training and learning in isolation, it’s about providing a core foundation to delivering better care and outcomes.