National Workforce Skills Development Unit projects

To date, the Unit has been engaged in a broad portfolio of projects. Below are our current projects. 

Overview

The project is mapping out mental health careers in the NHS as well as gaining a better understanding of psychology graduate’s attitudes towards working in mental health. This analysis will result in in-depth recommendations on how to improve mental health careers in the NHS to ensure the future workforce targets are met. 

What are we doing?

HEE had asked us initially to think about how to better promote mental health careers as well as looking into why not more psychology graduates are working in the NHS.

To do this, we first needed to better understand mental health career pathways in the NHS. In response, the project as a first step mapped out mental health career pathways in the NHS to illustrate all the current opportunities whilst also drawing attention to barriers. Specifically, we tired to understand for each selected mental health role/profession:

  • How to get into the role/profession?
  • How to progress?
  • How it links to other mental health roles/professions in the NHS?
  • What are the biggest issues in terms of career pathways?

This analysis is now feeding into in-depth recommendations on key issues identified. 

How are we doing it?

To support the project, we have convened an Expert Advisory Group composed of representatives from all the different mental health roles/professions as well as other key NHS stakeholders. With their help, we have composed initial profiles answering the questions above for each of the selected mental health roles/professions. We have excluded medical roles at this stage. Based on the initial profiling, we have identified a series of issues that we are now working on making in-depth recommendations.

To address the psychology graduate question, we commissioned the NCCMH to conduct analysis on psychology graduates’ attitudes towards mental health. This has resulted in a report outlining initial recommendations on how to improve access to mental health careers for psychology graduates and stipulated further thinking on how they may help address workforce challenges related to the mental health workforce.

The project is running until March 2020. Interim reports were delivered to HEE in September 2019 and the project is currently in its extension, focusing on making in-depth recommendations.

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Juliane Läng - jlang@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview 

This project is looking at the roles of Children and Young People (CWP), Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHP) and Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP). The following questions are key to this project:

  • Which competencies do these three roles share and what differentiates them? 
  • Is there a better way of organising training pathways? 

What are we doing? 

Following the success of adult IAPT, two low-intensity roles for children and young people have recently been created:  CWPs and EMHPs. These are comparable to the role of a PWP but for children and young people.

All three roles require a one-year training consisting of a mix of academic learning and practical experience. For this project, the unit is analysing whether the training for these roles can be made more efficient. At this point, it is not possible to easily transfer between the three roles without having to undergo the complete training. In addition, CWP and EMHPs are relatively similar and new roles and their career pathways remain unclear. We are hoping to clarify these issues to be able to maximise efficiencies in training and career progression. 

How are we doing it? 

To do this, we have as a first step commissioned a research provider to map out the competencies for each role to understand overlaps and differences. Based on this analysis, we will then with the help of experts in field make recommendations on how to best address these issues.  

The project is running from March 2019 to March 2020. 

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Juliane Lang - jlang@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview

This project’s goal is to get a better understanding of attitudes towards mental health careers in the NHS. Going forward, the evidence brought forth from this project will be used to steer promotional campaigns to encourage entry into mental health occupations.

The project was borne out of the developing need to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of mental health staff to meet the growing demand. 

What Are We Doing?

Barriers may relate to question around perception of careers as well as more practical issues such as financial barriers. For instance, there is a prestige, understanding, perception and a more defined career pathway attached to medical profession that does not necessarily seem to be shared by the non-medical career pathways. Factors such as these are being investigated in this project and recommendations will be made to support promotion. The project mainly focuses on mental health nursing and occupational therapy in mental health. 

Additionally, we hope for this analysis to guide discussions with educational institutions and workplaces around the barriers to entry for those wishing to embark on mental health career pathways.

How are we doing it?

In a first instance, we commissioned research to gather looking to identify key findings from existing research into people’s attitudes and choices in non-medical careers in the NHS. The work was undertaken by the Nuffield Trust. The report revealed that limited previous research on this topic exists. 

We are therefore planning to conduct surveys with target populations to gather further data on attitudes towards selected mental health careers. 

We are being advised and supported in our work by a group of expert stakeholders via Expert Advisory Groups and consultation.

This project, which will be delivered in March 2020, sits under the wider umbrella of our other project on mental health careers. 

Learn More

If you are interested in this project or have questions email:

Richard Wayoe – Rwayoe@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview 

This project is looking at the skills gap in registered nurses working in Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYP MHS) and registered nurses working with CYP with mental health presentation to meet the following objectives:

  • To identify and understand the current skills gap in nurses in CYP MHS and approach we need to take to carry this project forward.
  • To outline potential recommendations to address the skills gap of registered nurses working in CYP MHS.

What are we doing? 

CYP MHS are a high-profile service area that is a key focus for growth and investment in the NHS national strategies. The key priorities are to expand CYP MHS, improve quick access to high quality treatment, and have a joined up multi-agency approach to working.

The profession of nursing makes up the highest proportion of the CYP MH workforce (29%), and has the highest number of total vacancies (41%), as identified in the latest CYP MHS Workforce Report published by HEE in 2018. There is a general consensus amongst the nursing workforce that there is a “known skills gap” in this area. This is largely around a lack of focussed modules and placements in the area of CYP MH in the nursing curriculum across the four specialisms of mental health, child, learning disability and adult nursing. Therefore, there is seen to be a burden on the services to train up nurses in the area, which the Unit is seeking to identify and address.

How are we doing it? 

To do this, we have as a first step created and disseminated surveys to the current CYP MH nursing workforce to seek an understanding of the current skills gap facing nurses and services, where this training gap lies i.e. is it in pre-registration training, workplace training, and the current training offer. We have identified nursing experts in the area from both NHS services and academia, to create an Expert Advisory Group (EAG). The group provides advice and shapes the project delivery and outcomes.

This 6-month project runs from October 2019 to March 2020.

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions, please email: 

Amina Jahan Ali – ajahanali@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview 

This project aims to optimise the development of multi-professional approved clinician roles within organisations, using an implementation guide to raise awareness and increase uptake across England.

 

What are we doing? 

The 2007 amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 introduced the roles of approved clinician and responsible clinician, enabling mental health professionals other than psychiatrists to carry out duties previously performed by psychiatrists. We were commissioned by HEE to develop a National Implementation Guide using current evidence to raise awareness and promote development of the role within organisations across England. This guide is particularly aimed at workforce planners and trust executives looking to transform their workforce to meet the diverse needs of patients.

How are we doing it? 

To do this, an expert advisory group (EAG), complemented by a smaller working group of approved / responsible clinicians from the four eligible professions was convened to gain a broader understanding of the process of working towards approval for the relevant professions.

In the first instance, we identified a number of barriers and enablers around the wider uptake of the role. These were further explored with a group of approved and responsible clinicians to better understand the challenges and solutions required to take this work forward. This helped to shape the direction of the project.

The project is running from March 2019 to January 2020.

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Gloria Tawiah - gtawiah@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview 

This project aims to update and refresh the e-learning modules from the Mental Health Awareness programme for health care staff on the e-Learning for Healthcare website.

What are we doing? 

The modules from the Mental Health Awareness e-learning programme were last updated and reviewed in 2016-2017.

We are working alongside HEE, e-Learning for Health and the Institute of Health Visitors, as well as a wide group of clinical content writers and reviewers to update and renew the content. Certain sessions are no longer relevant and require new content while other sessions need to be updated.

The programme is split into the following module:

  • Mental Health Awareness for Healthcare Professionals
  • Mental Health Awareness for GPs
  • Perinatal Mental Health
  • Mental Health in Emergency Medicine
  • Mental Health for Practice Nurses

How are we doing it? 

To do this, we are engaging clinical content writers and reviewers to assess, review and update the e-learning modules.

The updated and renewed module content will be peer reviewed and passed to e-Learning for Health to instate into the library of e-learning resources for health care staff.

The project is running from April 2019 to March 2020.

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Ryan Matthews – rmatthews@tavi-port.ac.uk  

 

Overview 

The purpose of this project was to assist primary care suppliers with the provision of the right training in mental health and to help primary care staff find gaps in their knowledge of mental health. This involved a review of existing Primary Care Mental Health skills and competencies frameworks, collating them into a master skills matrix for each staff group in Primary Care settings. Commissioning Guidance will be produced to help commissioners of education in these settings choose the most appropriate training. 

What did we do? 

Primary care services involve a diverse workforce, including staff closely engaged in providing clinical care as well as offering information, support and assistance. Support staff may also interact with those affected by mental health issues in a primary care setting and therefore need to have an awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

How did we do it? 

To do this, the project synthesised a Primary Care Mental Health Skills Matrix through analysis of existing frameworks and stakeholder engagement. This approach recognised that a number of organisations had done work in this field from different perspectives and so brought this work together and updated it. We commissioned Skills for Health and involved stakeholders from HEE, the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and Nursing alongside current primary care staff and the Unit’s Nursing Clinical Leads.

The project started June 2019 and finishes in April 2020.

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Gloria Tawiah - gtawiah@tavi-port.nhs.uk 

    

Below is a selection of completed projects. 

Overview

The project considered approaches to psychological stress, with a focus on chronic stress. A framework was developed focusing on organisational rather than individual resilience. 

What did we do?

People are the most important resource in the NHS, yet in some situations an organisation’s staff can feel undervalued, powerless and invisible. In 2017, HEE commissioned us to explore this issue further. In response, we developed a framework for thinking about staff mental health and wellbeing entitled “Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation: A Framework for improvement through reflection, curiosity and change”

How did we do it? 

We collaborated with a great number of stakeholders on this project. In a first instance, we commissioned the Mental Health Foundation to put together a report o inform the work of the project’s Expert Reference Group by presenting evidence, identifying policy opportunities, and highlighting critical issues for its consideration. Read or download the report.

The research revealed that there was a great number of interventions but there wasn't necessarily evidence for these. Also, the focus is very much on the individual to be resilient rather than asking what the organisation should do to support its staff. 

A regular Expert Reference Group was also convened to discuss the findings and consider the next steps. It was decided that a framework was needed to support organisations doing the thinking around how to support staff. The ERG provided the conceptual foundations for this framework. We also worked closely with Tavistock Consulting on the content of the framework. The result was a framework for thinking, providing a process for organisations. 

The framework was tested for proof of concept in a series of NHS trusts involving stakeholders from various backgrounds. 

The framework was submitted to HEE in March 2019. It is available for download on the HEE website

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Juliane Läng - jlang@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Overview

The project supported the update of the NSPCC Harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) framework to make it more health care specific. Alongside, the NSPCC ran a campaign to increase awareness of the issue in the health care sector. 

What did we do?

Around a third of child sexual abuse in the UK is carried out by other children or young people (CYP) according to the NSPCC’s Harmful sexual behaviour framework. HSB can range from ‘sexting’ to aggressive sexual behaviour. Despite increasing evidence on the scale, nature and complexity of the problem, service provision across the UK remains patchy and relatively uncoordinated.

Our initial research highlighted that awareness of this problem was very limited in the health care sector. It was therefore decided to provide a tool specific to health care as well as support an awareness raising campaign. 

How did we do it? 

For this project we collaborated closely with the The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) who had already developed an Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework. The project developed this framework to be more inclusive of health staff and to develop a set of practical resources to support health staff dealing with HSB issues. 

To do this, workshops were held with health care professionals. This then fed into an update of the HSB framework as well as further online tools which can be found here

The project ended in March 2019

Learn more

If you are interested in this project or have questions email: 

Juliane Läng - jlang@tavi-port.nhs.uk

Rationale

Enhancing system leadership identified as a key area for improvement by the Lenehan ‘These are our Children’ report. This project followed one of the key recommendations from the previous unit’s report 2017/18 Children and Young People Transforming Care Workforce for HEE. The report highlighted the need for high quality cross system leadership in children and young people’s learning disability services.


Summary

Working with services that provide support to children and young people with learning difficulties and/or autism, the project established two ‘Group Relations’ events for two geographical systems to enhance system leadership capacity.


Deliverable

The provision of two cross system leadership events based on a ‘Group Relations’ development model in Cumbria and Essex for staff on the topic of leadership.


Project completion date

May 2019

Rationale

To develop a strategic workforce planning framework to support workforce development in the 49 Transforming Care Partnerships.


Summary

This project started in 2016/2017 in direct response to a number of the Lenehan “These are our children” review recommendations.


Deliverables

A skills matrix to enable local system leaders to understand the essential workforce skills.


A series of recommendations for further work in education, training and skills development submitted to the Transforming Care Programme.


Project completion target

May 2018

Rationale

To consider workforce competency and training provision to support the expansion of perinatal services


Summary

The unit was commissioned to develop a national competency framework for the perinatal workforce and to survey existing and planned perinatal mental health training across England, against the competencies in the perinatal competency framework


Deliverable

A Perinatal Competency Framework with associated training map, available on the e-Learning for Health portal.


Head to the Perinatal Competency Framework on the e-learning for health website.


Project completion date

September 2017


Project lead

Jo Maitland, Perinatal Mental Health Training and Service Development Lead

Rationale

To support front line staff to better understand and manage their needs when working with frequent service attenders through reflective practice.


Summary

People who attend A&E and primary care frequently and often inappropriately may sometimes have underlying psychological issues, this programme enables non-mental health trained staff to explore these issues through reflective practice.


Deliverable

An e-learning module for front line emergency services, A&E and primary care staff demonstrating the benefits of reflective practice. Product available on: the e-Learning for Health: https://www.elfh.org.uk/programmes/managing-frequent-attenders/


Project completion date

January 2019

Rationale

Reviews of workforce plans revealed that the lack of integrated approach to planning creates risk in role success and sustainability.


Summary

The project is to develop a definitive practical guide to developing new roles which draws from the evidence and is aimed at service and workforce planners


Deliverable

An interactive best practice guidance on the development of new workforce roles to support workforce and service planners


Project completion date

March 2019.

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