Our Head of Learning and Development, Phillip Gillespie, says partnership, planning, careers pathways and meeting the needs of local communities are the key to effective health and social care integration.
Developing a skilled competent confident workforce is critical to the success of health and social care integration and for the sustainability of health and social services.
The profile of the health and social care workforce should be representative of the diverse communities in Scotland that it works with. Through the Scottish Government’s National Workforce Plan, we are working in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to widen access into the social service and health workforce for communities that are under-represented.
Education and development linked to workforce planning is challenging due to the complexity of the workforce in Scotland.
- There are around 200,000 social service workers.
- This represents 7.7% of the total workforce.
- There are multiple employers across the voluntary, independent and statutory sector.
The social service workforce is well-placed to contribute to the ambitions and outcomes of the health and social care delivery plan for Scotland and we need to increasingly see the health and social care workforce as one workforce to deliver that ambition.
Social service education and learning has a long and established track record in developing the knowledge, skills and values related to the outcomes in the delivery plan namely:
- prevention/anticipatory care
- promoting self-management models of health and social care needs
- connecting people to their communities and their formal and informal supports
- skill in managing transitions and crisis.
- promoting choice.
Enablers for an integrated workforce
There are three key areas that will act as enablers to transforming education and learning for an integrated workforce.
- To build the capability and skills of the workforce to work in integrated settings.
- Focus on building clearly defined integrated career pathways across nursing, allied health professionals and social services to enable people to plot a sustainable career in care.
- Developing a professional pathway for social services from entry to enhanced practitioner as an alternative to management.
The potential of digital technology
- People’s expectations about the delivery of care and how they learn is changing as we shift towards digital as the default position.
- We need to build and improve the digital capacity and capability of the workforce to deliver services and support their learning and development. The work of the Care Inspectorate, SSSC and NES partnership is critical to strengthening this commitment.
- SSSC, NES and Care Inspectorate resources are an enabler for learning linked to MySSSC and other registration portals.
Joint programmes of work between NES/SSSC
- We need to develop more accredited joint learning programmes and move towards recognising them for registration.
- More formal learning that supports leadership and enables managers to lead transformational change in health and social care.
- Build on the existing work by the SSSC and NES to integrate the Health and Social Care Standards.
Finally, and critically, education and development for the health and social care workforce needs to focus on:
- the needs of employers
- support for effective workforce planning and careers pathways
- serving the health and social care needs of local communities.
Phillip was part of a panel presentation at the 1st National NHS Education for Scotland Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Education Conference in Edinburgh on 26 April 2018.