IHL, working in partnership with QHS, the GP federation in north Southwark successfully bid to NHS Southwark CCG for funding to support training for practice staff. The training courses were selected based on the feedback from our local staff about what they felt would be most useful. From April 2018 – March 2019 we’ve delivered:
- Advanced Communication Skills training. This is a key skill for practice staff, who interact with the local population, need to manage issues in a sensitive way, and need to work as part of a broader team and liaise with local organisations. We delivered six fully booked training days with really positive feedback from all attendees – with the intention to deliver further sessions.
- Making Every Contact Count training sessions. Practice staff interact with patients on a daily basis and these are opportunities to have conversations about how they might make positive improvements to their health or wellbeing, signposting to relevant places and/or providing advice. These sessions aimed to help staff to make the most of these opportunities. They involved staff from local health and social care organisations and provided a great opportunity for shared learning, understanding the roles they play and developing good relationships with colleagues
- Effective Team Management training. This was for practice managers and senior staff in practice teams who are supporting practice managers/wish to develop into this role. We developed the course so it fits with what local staff have said they would find useful. This was supported by group coaching sessions following the course to allow people to discuss how they were putting their learning into practice.
Support and development
Our nursing workforce consists of Health Care Assistants (HCAs), general practice nurses and advanced nurse practitioners. IHL recruited two practice nurse leads in 2017 to support our local nursing workforce in various ways, including:
- Providing peer support. Our nurse leads have established WhatsApp groups which allows local staff to build links and ask questions. They are also a key part of the local practice nurse and HCA forum.
- Understanding and responding to training needs. Nurse leads regularly visit local practices to discuss their issues, provide a sounding board and also undertake a regular assessment of training needs, this is then shared with workforce commissioning leads so we make sure that the right training is delivered.
- Keeping our nurses and HCAs up to date with local developments. A monthly newsletter has been developed to make it easier for local staff to see the really key pieces of information in one place
- Considering opportunities for nurse development. This includes having a preceptorship available to all newly registered nurses, nurses new to general practice and nurses returning to practice as well as actively encouraging our nurse mentors in local practices to take placement students from the local universities.