Training to improve quality, by Dr Neel Bhaduri, Health improvement manager, PHE London region
Public Health England London region sees the NHS Health Check programme as an opportunity for local government and health care services to engage their populations in raising awareness of behavioural and physiological risk factors for cardiovascular disease and a chance to work together to take steps to reduce or manage those risks.
London is very diverse, and the clinicians and staff who provide NHS Health Checks echo this diversity. In addition to the nurses, health care assistants and pharmacists, there are also different types of community workers, health trainers and private companies who provide the checks to meet the needs of Londoners. While this is great for access and equality, it is key to ensure that consistency in delivery is maintained and quality is at the forefront.
One way to ensure this is around training and competency of staff. So far there has been no formal review of staff competency across London. Training has been the responsibility of the individual commissioners in the public health departments and access to training varies across each borough:
The NHS Health Check competency framework should underpin any training delivered along with a tailoring to local programme delivery. Some boroughs have undertaken needs assessment for training and only one area has a process for signing off staff as competent to deliver the checks.
While some areas recommend the use the competency learner workbook, few areas ensure that it is used.
In East London three boroughs have come together to jointly commission training, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. However, these often run separately as their programmes are all slightly different.