February 23, 2022

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Developing Skills and Capacity in the Continuing Healthcare Workforce

Harry Bourton, Client Partner, CHS Healthcare

On 11 February, we held the third installation in our CHC webinar series, ‘Developing Skills and Capacity in the Continuing Healthcare Workforce’, I was pleased to have been joined by both Yvonne Le Brun, CHC Consultant, Waite Atkins Ltd and Adam J. Huszcza, Deputy Head of Continuing Healthcare, West Sussex.

It was encouraging that over 150 people working in CHC across the NHS and local authorities joined the interactive discussion indicating what an important topic workforce development is for practitioners.

Following are some of my observations and reflections on the discussion. 

How are organisations developing staff skills for CHC?

We all know that the development of skills and capacity within a workforce is crucial for the effective delivery of CHC. But, we want to explore the issues of staff skill development within CCG’s and how this can be improved through better training.

It is known that when pressure and workloads are high within healthcare, training and development are less of a priority. However, we want to delve into how that cycle, which inevitably leads to poor performance, can be broken.

Key findings from our pre-webinar survey showed:

  • 43% of registrants do not feel they have the capacity and skills in their workforce to address referrals via discharge to assess pathways
  • 76% said that they intend to use dedicated training to improve skills and capacity within their workforce
  • 40% said their number one priority for CHC in the coming year is training and skills development

We asked Yvonne ‘In your current CCGs where you are working, are you developing your CHC staff? How are you doing this?’.

‘’The scenarios are different across CCGs but the first thing that is important in developing staff is the commitment to training from people at the top, and this aligns with what respondents from the pre-webinar survey said as their number one priority when developing skills and development in workforce.”

“CCG’s should have a training strategy which shows and outlines the commitment right from the very top of the organisation. And training in CHC should be what I would call a blended approach of face-to-face, e-learning, action learning, and practical case studies, which is ongoing, as learners need more than one training experience in order to embed good theory into practice” said Yvonne.

Adam agreed that dedicating time to development of skills within a workforce is imperative for the growth of staff within CCG’s. “We have been lucky within Sussex CCG, in that seniors have always invested in people, and we’ve got a very supportive organisational development (OD) department.”

“In terms of CHC specifically, we have a transformation board and a series of workstreams that support that transformation board. One of those is called workforce development and digital. There are three strands to the workstream, which include supporting people in terms of training and their wellbeing, the second strand is the development of skills in CHC, and finally, the third strand is digitalisation which focuses on developing technical skills and system use to work more digitally.”

What role can the Associate Continuing Healthcare Practitioner play in the assessment of an individual’s health and social care needs?

Another pressing issue is how the assessment of individuals health and social care needs can be improved. Traditionally, we always believe a CHC assessment requires a registered nurse however, we would like to gather insight from a social work perspective and explore how CHC training could lead to non-clinical staff having the skills to carry out CHC assessments.

In the pre-webinar survey, registrants were asked ‘Thinking about training and workforce development where do you think the most emphasis is required?’

  • 41% of people who answered our survey ahead of the webinar said that most emphasis of training and development needs to on ‘improvement in accuracy of assessments’.

Yvonne gave her opinion on how we can widen our scope and stated that MDT assessment requires a lot of skills, but the national framework is quite clear that it doesn’t have to be a nurse. It requires someone to be competent to actually lead an MDT and make sure process is followed. Therefore, it is about their skills and competency, no matter what their background is.

“I like the concept of apprenticeships as a way to train and upskill people because one of the problems within CHC is there is not a very clear career pathway for people. However, I think the biggest challenge for associate practitioners is the flex of the CCG structures and where they fit within that, as well as what career development opportunities might be there for them.”

Adam was asked if an associate practitioner role could be integrated within the business support side of CCGs. Adam responded “there is more scope for a much more diverse skill mix of people to work within CHC, both on the clinical side and business support side. There is a lot of cross-over between skills needed for both roles”.

He also discussed the possibility of carving out a career path for associate practitioners to work within clinical and non-clinical roles and giving them an opportunity for a path to give an individual experience of both.

To learn more about developing skills and capacity within the CHC please contact Harry Bourton at to find out more.

CHS Healthcare has been supporting CCGs with Continuing Healthcare nationally since 2013 and are well-placed to support CCGs and local authorities to tackle their current and ongoing priorities. For more information, contact to discuss your needs.

You can access a recording of the webinar here:  Developing skills and capacity within the CHC workforce | CHS Healthcare



As originally seen on LinkedIn

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