Policy developments in post-registration education in England

21 November 2019

Blog by Fleur Nielsen, Head of Policy, Council of Deans of Health

The past week has been dominated by discussions about post-registration education.

Last Thursday I attended HEE’s annual advancing practice conference, an event so large that it is held at the Oval to accommodate interested employers, HEIs and practitioners. I was struck by how far the apprenticeship has come in the past year. The University of the West of England and The University of Nottingham both joined local employers to give impressive presentations on multi-professional apprenticeship delivery. Other aspects of policy have moved more slowly – academy plans still raise lots of questions and in another workshop, delegates were still trying to identify core common educational modules. The Council will hold its own advancing practice conference on 16 March. I expect by then conversation may focus more heavily on HEI experiences of academy developments.

On Monday, the Council attended a roundtable meeting on credentialing. This was run by HEE and included policy leads and regulators from the worlds of medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery and allied health. There is nothing new in the concept of credentialing but the definition is still under debate. This is most challenging in a multi-professional context. The GMC’s role in credentialing doctors looks a bit like the annotation of a register by the NMC or HCPC and not terribly complicated. The key question is how the growing demand for specific knowledge and skills can cross professional boundaries in a manageable, transparent and safe way. Attendees discussed the tension between innovation and flexibility verses standardisation and transferability. The real debate for our professions may be who owns and manages credentials. This raises further questions about funding, four nation and multi-professional applicability, professional identity and revalidation. It is a fascinating policy space.

On Wednesday, Katerina Kolyva joined the NMC for the first in a series of steering group meetings on post-registration standards. The group, led by Dr David Foster OBE, will review the NMC’s current post registration standards, including the Specialist Community and Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) and Specialist Practice Community Qualifications (SPQ). This was a good introductory meeting with engagement across the four countries and across professions. The Council will work with members to gather views on this over the coming months.

Meanwhile, Trusts have now received CPD funding notification from NHS England. The Council has repeatedly called for sustained and strategic investment in CPD and it welcomed the recent announcement of reinvestment. What remains to be seen is how this money will be used by employers. At £1,000 per professional over three years we are not talking about game-changing funding. Expect employers and planners to look at this money in light of their own strategic priorities and to demand value for money and time in any investment. A lot changes in five years and whilst total investment may resemble 2015 levels, the use of this money is likely to look very different.

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