Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland
Public Health Agency
The Workforce Planning Department of DHSSPSNI recognises the importance of workforce planning in identifying appropriate staffing levels and structures. Local staffing arrangements are the responsibility of individual HPSS employers, taking into account factors such as service needs and available resources. The Department has a role in ensuring that sufficient suitably qualified staff are available to meet the needs of the service overall.
The Workforce Planning Unit provides Northern Irish input to UK-wide professional regulatory issues and arranges for the appointment of Northern Irish representatives to the statutory regulatory bodies. The Unit also has responsibility for related legislation.
The Department, along with the GB Health departments, contributes funding to Skills for Health and is represented on the Board for Skills for Health.
Continuing Professional Development for Allied Health Professions
Education and training
Our approach to workforce development
For Health and Social Care based staff, workforce development is undertaken as part of line management. With regard to the wider public health workforce across the other sectors, in particular the community and voluntary sector, the provision of health improvement programme related education and training through the commissioning process is a major element of Health Improvement work.
Who do people who want to improve their health and wellbeing/public health skills contact in their region to get advice on:
(a) personal development
(c) access to funding for personal development (e.g. to take a training course)?
In Northern Ireland, this information is currently obtained from a variety of sources. This could be the training director for the (medical) public health training scheme or representatives from the Faculty of Public Health. Line managers and training leads in Trusts and other health and social care organisations could provide information to individuals.
The Department has provided advice with respect to the Public Health Register and there is a local informal group which provides peer support on portfolio development. It is envisaged the new public health agency will designate a training lead to develop this area in the coming months.
What is the procedure for funding (commissioning) the provision of training and education (both medical and non-medical)?
Specialist training in Public Health Medicine is commissioned through the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency. There is currently no provision for specialist training for those from a non medical background although it is hoped such training will become available in the near future
How is this education and training funded/commissioned (e.g. on a local level or on a regional level)?
Specialist training is commissioned as above. Otherwise, training is commissioned locally through trusts and other health and social care organisations. The new public health agency will have a central role in commissioning training for its workforce.
How do people working in health and wellbeing/public health roles find out which courses have been specifically funded/commissioned (so that they can be sure the training is of high quality)?
From a variety of sources, for example local professional networks, newsletters, trust based training information materials. The higher education institutions also promote their public health related courses which will have appropriate accreditation
Links with third sector (voluntary) public health organizations
See above. With regard to obtaining information on training support provided to the third sector, as far as I know there is no central or systematic source of information. Health Improvement commissioners would need to be approached on an organisational/programme/individual basis.