Training for healthcare assistants


04 / 02 / 2009

  • SHA region
  • The organisation
  • What we did and why
  • How we did it
  • The results and next steps
  • Contact details and further information
  • SHA region

    NHS London

    The organisation

    King's College NHS Trust.

    What we did and why

    King's College NHS Trust has developed a pre-employment training programme incorporating NVQ assessment for people who wish to become healthcare assistants at King's.

    The programme has been designed specifically to be accessed by local unemployed people and healthcare assistants currently employed by King's health bank (staff who at present are not eligible to undertake NVQs funded by the trust).

    Through the community links that have been developed via the workplace co-ordinator, the programme has been publicised to groups such as the Refugee Council, whose users have historically been difficult to reach. Through this programme (and others like it), the trust hopes to give back ownership of the organisation to the local community and become an employer of choice. This will in turn make people proud to be a part of King's and thus improve the service delivered back to the community. This ' growing our own ' approach to staff is what is needed to make sure local people have the skills and experience needed so recruitment is possible from the local community.

    How we did it

    The programme is designed on the careers escalator model and is able to take candidates through their NVQ levels II and III and into pre -registration nurse training.

    The first stage of the programme is an 18-week basic nursing skills programme. This is run concurrently with starting point, a return to study course designed to prepare the candidates for the more academic elements of the programme. The candidates are then employed on the health bank and are able to develop their clinical competence and work towards their NVQs. During this stage all the healthcare assistants are encouraged to take substantive posts within the trust.

    The results and next steps

    However, the health bank does allow for an easier transition between unemployment and employment as it gives the candidates the freedom to choose when they work and how many hours they work. This can be extremely beneficial if the candidates are claiming benefit or have children to look after.

    This training programme helps to develop a competent and representative workforce by investing in the local population. Candidates will have had time to develop a confident and assured approach to their role and how it fits in with the multi- disciplinary approach of the NHS.

    Candidates will be competent to trust A grade healthcare assistant. A standardised level of care will be delivered to patients. Clear pathways for progress have been identified at the outset of the project, keeping the candidates well motivated to achieve all they can.

    Contact details and further information

    Sue Hossent, e-mail:

    Details were correct up to the time of publishing, NHS Employers does endeavour to check data on a six-monthly basis to ensure information and contact details are correct but cannot guarantee their accuracy.

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