Using competences and competence tools in workforce development
The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) has been a driving force in the move to competence based workforce development in the NHS. Skills for Health, the Sector Skills Council for the UK health sector has developed national workforce competences which aim to improve behavioural performance, which in turn increases productivity. Skills for Health competences and competence tools were tested and evaluated in workforce development projects in five NHS Trusts. They were used to redesign services, develop job roles, identify skills gaps and develop learning programmes. Reported benefits of using competences and competence tools included increased clarity and a structured, consistent and standardised approach to workforce development. Findings from the evaluation of the tools were positive in terms of their overall usefulness and provision of related training/support. Reported constraints of using the competences and tools included issues relating to their availability, content and organisation. It is recognised that a highly skilled and flexible workforce is important to the delivery of high quality healthcare. These projects suggest that Skills for Health competences can be used as a 'common currency' in workforce development in the UK health sector. This would support the need to adapt rapidly to changing service needs.