Our membership scheme has seven enabling themes to deliver four West Midlands-specific priorities, including digital health. The seven enabling themes have networks available to all members and three of the enabling themes have services tailored for our enhanced membership.
With around 126,000 staff performing over 300 different types of jobs across 51 different NHS employers, as well as a huge range of private and third sector care providers, the West Midlands’ healthcare sector requires a robust workforce planning process to ensure that it has staff in the right numbers, with the right skills and the right values and behaviours, to deliver high quality care.
This theme recognises the importance of skills and knowledge among patients and the wider population, the people commissioning and delivering health care, and the industries that support them. We work in close partnership with Health Education West Midlands, the Local Education and Training Board for our region, and share common goals.
We are developing innovative tools and processes to ensure everyone involved has access to the skills and knowledge they need, whether they are:
Advanced diagnostics, genomics and precision medicine represent a significant change in how care will be designed and delivered in the future and will have significant implications for how education and skills are able to deliver this. For some organisations, this will mean that there are new ways of working involving new and complex lab procedures, while other staff will be required to counsel patients and families about various different illnesses and new treatment options, and diagnostics in general will play an increasingly more prominent role, in addition to the existing diagnostic challenges posed by seven day working and growth in activity across all forms of imaging and lab-based diagnostics. There is likely also to be the development of new roles, and all staff will need to have a basic level of knowledge in order to be able to manage patient and service user queries.
Higher education institutions in the West Midlands have been commissioned to provide a specialist MSc to support the clinical staff most directly involved in genomics medicine, but in time all West Midlands trusts will need to include information about genomics in their workforce plans. For more information, visit the Health Education England website.
All members have full access to WMAHSN’s opportunities for innovation process, which is delivered through the Meridian online health innovation exchange and allows them to propose innovative solutions to deliver on innovative approaches to education and skills provision, specifically addressing the four priorities and which may need investment to spread at scale and pace across the region.