13 August, 2018

News > Report calls for more opportunities to recognise and reward good practice in caring for the UK’s older people

The Dunhill Medical Trust has worked with Picker to publish a report that evaluates the education and training landscape for the workforce that cares for older people in the UK.

The report has found a need for tailored training, more continuing professional development, and for more recognition and incentives for those choosing a career in health and social care for older people.

Other findings included:

  • existing research is scarce and its results are inconclusive;
  • the amount and quality of education and training seems to be varied and inconsistent across geographies and professions;
  • education and training are important but continuing professional development, access to knowledge and information and a positive and supportive culture were more so;
  • there seem to be organisational barriers in the NHS to making change, together with a perception of lack of recognition and reward for good practice.

Speaking about the findings, Susan Kay, Executive Director at The Dunhill Medical Trust, said;

“While the research highlighted the lack of consistency of approach in recruitment practices, training standards and requirements, there seemed to be some real passion and dedication among both senior and junior participants in the study indicating a solid foundation for change. We hope that those who are charged with the training and education of our health and social care workforce will be able to use the findings of this report to build on this passion and dedication and make a real positive difference to the care received by older people.”

As a result of the report, the Trust will, amongst a range of other actions, be sponsoring a new category at the annual British Medical Journal Awards which celebrates excellent team-based and person-centred care for older people. In addition to this it will be working with UK medical schools and faculties of health and social care to identify and celebrate education and training initiatives which embody the principles of excellent person-centred care and individuals who are playing their part to develop a healthcare culture which is underpinned by kindness, empathy and dignity.

Susan added; “The report is important as it highlights where efforts need to be focused in order to improve the experience of older people of the health and social care system in the UK.”

The Dunhill Medical Trust funds academic and clinical research into understanding the mechanisms of ageing and treating age-related diseases and frailty; as well as supporting community-based organisations that are working to enhance the lives of those who need extra support in later life. In 2013/14, following the findings of the Francis Report, they launched a programme aimed at improving health and social care for older people. The programme has so far committed around £3M on making a real difference to the lives of older people.

The Trust worked with Picker, a health and social care research charity that advocates person centred care for all, to create the report which comprised of a systematic review of existing research exploring the link between education and training and outcomes for older people, and range of interviews with frontline staff and stakeholders as well as engaging a Public and Patient advisory group to assist in understanding the evidence of how education and training relates to older people’s care quality.

Jenny King, Chief Research Officer at Picker, commented;

“Thank you to everyone that has participated in the interviews and the Public and Patient Advisory Group. Picker is proud to have worked with The Dunhill Medical Trust on this important work, and we hope that the findings in this report will serve as a first step in understanding how the health and social care workforce can be equipped to provide high quality care to older people, and that continued conversations and debates will lead to further exploration.”

The report can be read here.

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