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The Head of Workforce Development at Health Education England (North West London), Vicky Lyons, guest blogs for Will Huxter, to introduce the Gender Identity Workforce project that will begin to address the workforce challenges within gender identity services.
On 20 October I attended the most recent multi-agency symposium that NHS England has convened. The symposiums exist in order to encourage a coordinated, shared approach to improving access to gender identity services, and improving trans-people’s experience of the NHS generally. The symposium was well attended by patient representatives, voluntary groups, professional associations and statutory bodies and workforce and training issues were a main theme throughout the day.
We know that there are pressing workforce issues facing gender identity services, despite the current service being delivered by dedicated and talented staff. Earlier this year parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee delivered a report on Transgender Equality that described these pressures in some detail. It was evident that the challenges laid down by the Committee’s recommendations requires a coordinated response from the various elements of the NHS, other statutory bodies such as Health Education England and the professional associations.
On our part, Health Education England exists as a public body to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England. Our ambition is to provide the right workforce, with the right skills and values, in the right place at the right time to better meet the needs and wants of transgender and non-binary patients – now and in the future.
We had some really good discussions on the day and I was encouraged to learn of the various initiatives that are being pursued by a number of organisations to address workforce challenges for gender identity services. It was great to meet so many stakeholders who will be able to work with us on the workforce agenda. As an outcome of our discussions I am now developing a project plan for a programme of work that will make recommendations for the training and development of the future workforce in this field. It is likely to involve an exploration of:
- Core competencies for staff working in gender identity services
- Standards for Continuing Professional Development
- Training placements within gender identity services
- Recommendations for general awareness raising
The group agreed that this work should impact on all roles within GIS services and would benefit services nationally.
We plan to start this work by December. It will include engagement with patient groups and people who use gender identity services. The aim is to deliver recommendations in the New Year and Will Huxter will share the work plan in a future blog very soon.