Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has officially launched the new NHS Scotland Academy, backed by £9 million of investment to accelerate training and build the country’s health workforce.
As a collaboration between NHS Golden Jubilee and NHS Education for Scotland, the Academy will contribute to improving staffing levels to meet growing patient needs.
It will feature a mix of residential, distance and virtual reality learning, with a range of training programmes linked to recruitment, career progression and redesign of roles.
Mr Yousaf said: “The NHS Scotland Academy is part of our wider £1 billion commitment to health through the NHS Recovery Plan which will increase capacity, deliver reforms, and get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as is possible.
Our workforce is at the heart of everything we do, and I want to express my sincere thanks for the continued courage, commitment and professionalism of all staff during this time.
“We have been clear that as a result of the pandemic our NHS will face challenges in the years ahead and the Academy will play a key role in supporting it to be well-equipped and prepared as we look to recover.
We will publish a National Workforce Strategy later this year in which the Academy will be a key feature of designing, developing and delivering training programmes.
“This will also broaden opportunities for young people – in support of our Young Person’s Guarantee, alongside those who may be seeking a career change.
This will enable them to receive on-the-job clinical training and a route to future career progression.”
The Academy has already started providing vital support and training to meet high demand health programmes.
This includes a pilot perioperative nurse training programme which qualifies graduates to work in a theatre environment in just six months – when previously it would take a year.
Community pharmacists are being trained to support primary care services, by issuing prescriptions for specific conditions without the need for patients to see a GP.
NHS Golden Jubilee’s first nurse endoscopy graduates have taken up post this week, ensuring rapid diagnosis and treatment for a number of conditions, including cancer.
The Academy is also playing a vital role in supporting National Treatment Centres, to ensure NHS Scotland can meet the needs of Scotland’s ageing population through our overall commitment to recruit at least 1500 additional staff.
Chief Executive of NHS Golden Jubilee Jann Gardner said: “The pandemic has made it clearer than ever the need to offer fast, efficient and effective access to training and education for health and social care staff.
“Drawing on the strengths of the Golden Jubilee’s state of the art facilities, and the educational expertise and technology offered by NHS Education for Scotland, the NHS Scotland Academy will support the workforce, and benefit the people of Scotland for years to come.”
Chief Executive of NHS Education for Scotland Karen Reid said: "Having the right staff with the right skills in the right place is fundamental to delivering the best health and social care outcomes.
The pandemic has made us think about working in new ways and about making better use of technology.
“Our partnership in the new NHS Scotland Academy allows us to join up educational expertise and technology - enabling faster learning, and a more skilled workforce, for the people of Scotland."
The Scottish Government will provide funding of £9 million over the next 3 years (£2 million in 2021/22 and £2.5 million capital funding; £2 million in 2022/23; and £2.5 million in 2023/24).
With additional capacity for training and education, the NHS Scotland Academy will provide accelerated training programmes as well as responding to evolving and emerging workforce needs.
It will also address recruitment gaps and offer solutions to existing training needs, to ensure Scotland’s health and social care workforce is fully prepared for the challenges of the ever-changing needs of patients across the country.
The Academy includes a clinical skills and simulation centre at NHS Golden Jubilee, as well as using digital platforms available through NES to roll out courses across the country.
This will ensure that as many people as possible can access the highest possible standard of training.
For more information, including details of existing courses and access routes, please visit www.NHSScotlandAcademy.co.uk and follow on Twitter @NHSScotAcademy