The Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System’s (ICS) Education Partnership Group (EPG) is looking forward to the next phase of their development of clinical education provision across the region.
The EPG was established in 2018 as a subgroup of the Local Workforce Action Board (LWAB) and now reports to the ICS People Board. Its central aim is to bring health and care partners from NHS, primary care, social care and approved education institutions together to ensure high-quality education opportunities are established across the system based on what the local health and care needs are.
The rationale of the group was to ensure a sustainable workforce supply following concerns arising from the removal of bursaries and the change from a previously commissioned service.
Initially this was set up for non-medical undergraduate courses, including nursing, midwifery and AHPs, but more recently has broadened to include medical and pharmacy undergraduate education, with the intention to broaden the scope further.
By streamlining and standardising processes, they have been able to minimise duplication and ensure better alignment of education provision across services.
The achievements of the EPG in the past year include:
- · Forecast Placement Allocations – The ICS has worked collaboratively, supported by funding from the People Board for a project manager to develop a real-time online system for placement forecasting and capacity, due to go live in May
- · Clinical Placement Expansion – It secured £1 million funding to support the ICS to increase clinical placements in health and social care, that will support increase in student recruitment and ensure adequate placement provision for learners
- · New Community Placement Model – It has developed a system-wide community placement model with partners from health, social care, and the private, independent and voluntary sectors that will ensure each student has exposure by increased placements to support increase in student numbers
- · Course development – In response to system need, it developed multiple entry points to increase recruitment and help bridge workforce gap such as dual qualification, degree apprenticeships, top-up degrees, a blended learning approach, and midwifery shortened course
- · Student Recruitment – It increased recruitment to meet 25% Department of Health and Social Care target to increase nurse undergraduate places. It also increased overall student recruitment across nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals by 18%, to help bridge workforce shortfalls
- · System Approach – It developed guidance to car sharing, lone working, Future Nurse Standards, and is currently developing an ICS approach to digital clinical learning, resulting in reduced duplication, a standardised approach and reduced uncertainty.
Jane Powell, Programme Lead for the EPG, said the achievements of the group “would not have been possible without programme management and support to maintain close collaboration and partnership working across the system”, and that she is looking forward to the future.
She said: “The EPG has a large amount of work planned for the next three months, including supporting the ambition for 50,000 more nurses in the BSol ICS workforce and how it continues to ensure provision of a year-on-year 25% nurse placement expansion.
“It’s new initiatives include identifying future education requirements for district nurses and work to ensure the student population in BSol reflect the local demographics and identify initiatives to retain newly qualified in BSol.”