The role of our Workforce Development and Support Committee

Posted 08 Oct 2020

Date: 08 Oct 2020

Author: Dr Jane Dickson

Jane Dickson, our FSRH Vice President of Strategy, explains more about the role of a new committee we have set up to support our members with workforce development.

Why does the FSRH need a new committee focussed on workforce development and support? We used to have a FSRH workforce committee and its main role was to annually collate a workforce census. Those of you who have been around for a while will remember filling in this census which outlined how many staff worked in a region and what services they provided. The problem with this was that the data was often inconsistent and inaccurate so was difficult to use.

The committee was disbanded but we have, of course, continued to be very concerned about the SRH-related workforce at the Faculty. One of my responsibilities as a Vice President is to oversee issues relating to workforce. Another of my roles is to chair the FSRH Educational Strategy Board which is responsible for guiding the governance and strategic direction of education in the Faculty.

While it is relatively easy to define functions relating to specialist training (such as membership exams, curriculum) or general training (e.g. our DFSRH, Letter of Competence qualifications), we recognise that there are many areas relating to ‘workforce’ where we need to provide support and advocacy.

Our Workforce Development Support Committee (WDSC) has been established to provide a focus to our broader workforce ambitions.

The FSRH is unique in the way it supports a multidisciplinary membership. Our membership is open to a wide variety of health professionals including GPs, specialist and generalist nurses, midwives, health visitors , physician associates and pharmacists. We also support the personal and professional development of all SRH professionals so that the best possible services can be delivered to those who need SRH care.

As part of this work, we monitor and approve job descriptions for consultants and service leads. We actively support Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors who are fundamental to specialist service delivery.

We have an SAS lead and are committed to having SAS members represented on all of our committees.

Despite having one of the most oversubscribed training programmes, we do not have enough training numbers to train the number of consultants needed in the UK. To help address this, we actively promote applicants to apply for CESR (Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration) which is an alternative route to becoming a consultant. We also provide additional support with bursaries and mentoring for this process.

We are also establishing a mentoring group and are currently recruiting for this. In association with BASHH and BHIVA we have developed an Advanced Clinical Practitioner programme to support specialist nurses.

We also support our members with revalidation queries. All of this work ties together and enables us to provide support and development for our workforce.

We also recognise that more work needs to be done to improve diversity and inclusion within the workforce and in our membership - and our WDSC will lead on this work. If you are interested in guiding aspects of this work, we have three vacancies open and I would welcome your interest and application.