Skills for Health has published a unique report exploring the contribution the Higher Apprenticeship Framework has had on the development of the “semi-autonomous worker” or Assistant Practitioner (AP) role. The research outlines the positive impact the AP role has had on career opportunities for the healthcare support workforce, as well as strong examples of the role being deployed and its contribution to improving both efficiency and patient care.
The definition of an assistant practitioner (AP) has a number of important themes, including levelling, working across traditional boundaries and accountability to oneself. There is also a strong sense in which the roles are valuable because they are locally defined and enable innovation to take place. The AP role is a destination in its own right, but at the same time, employees might be able to use it as a launch pad to progress, if they wished, into registered roles in the health sector
The report “Higher Apprenticeships in the South West”, details the findings from personal interviews with 25 people from four employers in the South West of England, including recently qualified assistant practitioners, their employers, line managers, learning providers and co-ordinators. In the region, there are an estimated 67,900 people in support worker-type roles, representing around 36% of the total workforce. There are an estimated 1, 450 assistant practitioners in the South West of England. These interviews paint an inspirational picture of the employment opportunities created via this career pathway and are analysed alongside a review of current literature and research.
Ian Wheeler, Head of Research, LMI and Evaluation at Skills for Health comments, “Staffing is the single largest item on the health sector’s balance sheet and as such, one of the greatest conundrums for this sector is how people can be developed and utilised to help meet the demand to deliver more high quality care for less. A key feature of this debate is how to make better use of the pool of highly motivated and loyal “non-registered” support workers.
“We found a real positivity amongst those we interviewed. There was a sense that not only does the Assistant Practitioner role have positive outcomes for employers in terms of increased productivity and efficiency, but individuals also benefit enormously on a personal level. Substantial numbers of candidates had been switched onto learning by doing the course and were seeking to continue their development either with further study or progression into registered roles.”
Unsurprisingly the piece has already garnered some positive attention from trade media including Care Appointments magazine.
To download the full report please go to http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/resources/reports/research-and-intelligence-library/expert-papers/178-higher-apprenticeships-in-the-south-west