A new Institute of Health set up at the University of Cumbria aims to tackle the ongoing staffing crisis in the NHS with a dual purpose of recruiting more new staff in Cumbria as well as upskilling and retaining the current workforce.
The Institute of Health’s praiseworthy ambitions aim to help address the crisis of the health workforce in the UK, which are felt particularly keenly in our county.
Current estimates suggest there are around 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in a growing number of specialisms which are struggling to recruit including occupational therapy, diagnostic radiography, midwifery and a range of other healthcare roles.
In addition to growing new recruits, the newly formed institute aims to support policy and research in relation to the NHS Long Term Plan with a renewed emphasis on increased funding for continuing professional development (CPD) and upskilling of current NHS staff.
The Institute of Health aims to continue to support the skills requirements of the region, by attracting and retaining health professionals who will provide high quality, evidence-based care in a time of change in health care across the UK.
Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Pro Vice Chancellor for Health at the university strategically leads the new the institute.
He said: “The institute represents the growth of the university’s education, research, entrepreneurship and its major contribution to the health and social care workforce.
“Since coming to the university in December 2018, I have had the pleasure of meeting many stakeholders and partners as a way of listening to how best the university can contribute to our workforce, and our economy.
“And so the aims of the institute have been co-created with our partners and stakeholders to ensure our offering meets their needs.”
Summing up he said: “Within the Institute of Health we also launched the newly created Centre for Research in Health & Society as well as our Centre for Excellence in Paramedic Practice. Both centres are pivotal to the growth and reputation of the Institute of Health.”
The institute aims to be forward thinking and produce highly-skilled and knowledgeable practitioners in health, care, and social work as well as a wide range of other discipline areas including psychology, sports rehabilitation and children and families. It has ambitions to be a centre of excellence, producing practitioner and workforce focused research and evidence which will have a positive impact on patients themselves.
It intends to be recognised nationally and internationally, be academically led and a choice organisation for its partners. It also plans to be a national and international organisation known for its paramedic education and research.
Institute of Health launch events are taking place on Tuesday 5 November in Carlisle and Wednesday 6 November in Lancaster where the university's main campuses are located.
The events will be opened by Professor Webster-Henderson who will set out his vision for the future of healthcare and will be supported by external speakers from a range of our partners and stakeholders.