Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust (PHT) has been shortlisted in the workforce category at this year’s HSJ Awards, taking place on Tuesday 19th November, for its Care Support Worker Development Programme (CSWDP), a programme offered by the Trust’s temporary workforce managed service provider. Nicky Sinden, Lead Nurse for Workforce at the Trust told us more about how the initiative is benefiting PHT.
Why did your Trust implement this initiative?
We recognised that there was a group of individuals who were applying to our managed service provider to work as Healthcare Assistants, but weren’t passing the recruitment checks or didn’t have acute hospital experience. These individuals did have the right values and beliefs, so we looked at ways we could bring them in and provide them with the right support and training, to use this untapped potential.
We also found that, due to the demand for Care Support Workers (CSWs), we had to rely on agencies to fill shifts. This was an expensive option, so we wanted to use the CSWDP to grow the available bank workforce, making significant cost savings and giving us better quality workers. Improving our workforce planning is incredibly important and we knew that, through implementing the CSWDP, we would be able to fill vacant shifts, as well as having the opportunity to grow the available temporary workforce.
Recruiting for values from the local health economy has also helped create jobs and develop skilled individuals in Portsmouth.
What is the Care Support Worker Development Programme?
The programme recruits those who have care experience but who would not meet the managed service provider’s recruitment criteria. Carefully selected candidates undergo a five day tutor-led classroom training course, provided by the managed service provider, to achieve the necessary theoretical standard. This is followed by a five day period of ward-based supervised practice.
Following this, successful candidates undertake paid and supervised work placements within the Trust for six months to develop their skills, after which they are assessed to ensure they meet required competency standards. During their placements, trainees form part of the workforce numbers and are expected to function as a junior Care Support Worker.
The programme takes approximately 720 hours, which is roughly 30 hours a week over six months. Band 5 or 6 nurses, or more senior CSWs, act as the CSWs’ mentor, a role which nurses are used to because they are always training new staff.
What are the benefits of the initiative for the Trust?
The CSWDP has proven to be extremely successful – we’ve had a 100% success rate and 37 CSWs had completed the programme by May 2013, all of whom are working approximately 30 hours a week. The programme allows us to tap into a pool of resources that we would not otherwise have had access to.
There are significant cost saving benefits to the Trust. Our managed service provider recruits the CSWs directly and pays for their classroom training; this gives us a substantial saving on recruitment costs and time. We also have more available CSWs, with the majority of CSW shifts now being filled by our managed service provider, significantly reducing the reliance of agencies. Their CSWs have filled 22,402 hours in 2012-13 and we have saved £42,000 through using them.
Furthermore, The CSWDP has greatly improved the quality of our workforce, as we have the same CSWs in our team. The programme has also improved our workforce planning as we have more CSWs to choose from, and it has grown the workforce of our Trust and our managed service provider’s bank.
What are the benefits to patients?
Indications are that the programme has had a positive impact on care delivery. Each trainee stays on their host ward for the full six months, resulting in good continuation of care, which is difficult to achieve through the normal utilisation of temporary workers. The patient care standards have been improved during this time, evidenced by a fully compliant Care Quality Commission unannounced inspection in March 2013.
What are the benefits of the initiative to CSWs?
For many, the programme provides trainees with a route into substantive employment in a Trust and is also a gateway to a career in the NHS.
Many of the CSWs continue to work with the managed service provider and the Trust once they have completed their training, and we encourage the ward managers to move the CSWs into a normal CSW pay band so we can continue to book them, to increase our self-fill.
Congratulations on being shortlisted and good luck at the Awards Ceremony.