Supporting Health Education England to build perinatal workforce capability

Supporting Health Education England to build perinatal workforce capability

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Health Education England (HEE) is the National Health Service organisation responsible for ensuring the health workforce has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place.

A competency framework was not being used to its full potential

HEE had developed a framework that identified the mental health competencies needed by practitioners working with people in the perinatal period, as well as their families and loved ones, in different roles and settings. The framework was comprehensive and evidence-based, but HEE felt it was not being used to its full potential. HEE sought an independent evaluation of the framework, including recommendations to break down barriers to access and increase use.

A robust evaluation involved wide consultation with practitioners

Nous developed a robust evaluation framework to structure our assessment of the competency framework and inform our recommendations. We then sought data to undertake the evaluation, including through:

  1. 87 interviews with practitioners and representatives from professional bodies, Royal Colleges, clinical networks and training providers
  2. surveys of practitioners across the country
  3. focus groups of people with lived experience of perinatal mental health and service use.

We combined the resultant data to comprehensively assess the current state of the competency framework and develop recommendations for its improvement. Our recommendations identified how content, format, communication, promotion and use of data could have greater impact, while also offering advice on communications strategy and sector relationships.

Our recommendations helped to inform planning

Nous’ clear, actionable and realistic recommendations on the competency framework’s content, format, communication, promotion and data use will inform HEE’s future use of the framework. Improving the framework will ultimately improve the capability of England’s perinatal mental healthcare workforce and in turn perinatal mental health outcomes.

What you can learn from HEE

A comprehensive evaluation can uncover critical process and communication improvements.

Engaging practitioners and individuals with lived experience is invaluable for identifying how to improve workforce training resources.

A well-designed and well-used competency framework can improve workforce capability.