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Written Statement - NHS Wales Skills and Career Development Framework for Health Care Support Workers

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

Healthcare support workers make up a significant part of our NHS workforce and make a valuable contribution to the provision of clinical and non-clinical services, whether working in hospitals or in local communities. 

Earlier this week, in my response to the Health Professional Education Investment review, I highlighted the importance of workforce design and development in creating a prudent healthcare system. The review focused on the need to invest in the current NHS workforce and to provide opportunities for all healthcare workers to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.

Following the development of the codes of practice and the provision of central funding to support the training and development of healthcare support workers, it was agreed we should consider how their training standards could be strengthened.
The development of an NHS Wales Skills and Career Development Framework for Healthcare Support Workers has been led to date by Philippa Ford, from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. 

The framework is being taken forward in phases – the first is designed to support clinical healthcare support workers and will apply to those working in nursing, midwifery and allied health professional roles. It is based on national occupational standards and competences and introduces a common set of standards for training and education, recognising the skills, knowledge and experience of individuals as they develop in their role. 

These education pathways will identify the skills and knowledge to provide the foundation for healthcare support workers to practice and will also be a route to career progression, if desired. This will be demonstrated through a portfolio of evidence and reflective learning measured through the appraisal process.
I am today launching this framework and expect all NHS organisations to implement these arrangements from April 1, 2016. Work will continue on the next phase, which is aimed at supporting non-clinical healthcare support workers and focuses on how social care support workers and healthcare support workers can be integrated into a single framework. 

During this period of further development, NHS organisations will have an opportunity to focus on the development of existing staff before the framework becomes mandatory from April 1, 2018.