This article has been provided and sponsored by Quality Compliance Systems.
Author: Tracy Green, head of primary care at Quality Compliance Systems (QCS).
The author and speaker John C. Maxwell once said that ‘a wise person learns from his mistake’ but ‘a wiser one learns from others’ mistakes’. As a leader in compliance, content and best practice, our policy writers devote a lot of time to keeping up-to-date with CQC activity. This helps them to shed light on new ways in which customers can meet the necessary requirements and gather the evidence they need to show they are outstanding.
The CQC and mandatory training requirements
One challenge general practices face, however, is that the CQC does not provide a list of mandatory training courses that staff must undertake. Therefore, it is up to practices to provide evidence that they have sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to meet the needs of the people who use the service.
So, practice managers must not only identify which training is statutory, mandatory, or recommended as best practice, they must ensure that all of their staff are correctly trained to fulfil their roles. They also need to determine the level and frequency of training that each staff practice team member requires to ensure they are up to date.
What is the difference between statutory and mandatory?
At first glance, statutory training and mandatory training appear to be the same. Indeed, some organisations use the terms ‘essential’ or ‘compulsory training’ as a catch-all to cover both mandatory and statutory training. But they are slightly different in what they focus on.
While both are compulsory, statutory training is usually required by law, or where a statutory body has instructed an organisation to provide training based on specific legislation. An example might be training centred on the Health and Safety at Work Act. Other examples include Fire Safety Awareness training and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) training.
On the other hand, mandatory training is considered essential for the safe and efficient delivery of services. This type of training includes (but is not limited to) chaperone training, complaints handling, safeguarding, infection Control, raising concerns and whistleblowing.
Ensuring training requirements are met in your practice
Returning to the central theme of this article, the question is how should practice managers ensure that they have adequately qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff?
They could research all of the statutory, mandatory and recommended training requirements of each staff member, but in a busy practice this would take up a considerable amount of time.
Much better, however, would be to have a matrix, which not only determines which training is mandatory and what is recommended, but also how often the training should be undertaken.
As part of its Training Policy and Procedure, which is currently available to existing customers, QCS has created a staff training matrix, which identifies the statutory, mandatory and recommended training requirements for each individual staff member. Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed limitations on face to face training courses, so many of these sessions will need to be delivered remotely for the foreseeable future.
Moreover, unlike other training matrices, the QCS matrix is linked to its compliance system. This means that whenever a policy is updated, any training requirements that emerge as a result will be updated by the QCS policy writers and the training requirements will be updated in the training matrix.
In doing so, the guide, not only saves time but also gives practice managers peace of mind that all their staff training needs are being identified, recorded and evidenced.
Matrices provide greater visibility
The QCS matrix tool enables practice managers to see at a glance what training each staff member needs and whether it has been completed within the recommended timescale. Second, as it is a digital and interactive matrix, it can be shared quickly and easily with staff members such as line managers, who are also able to feed into it.
For forward-thinking practices, this paves the way for them to use the tool to chart career progression and development. The tool can be used during appraisal to review the training requirements that a member of staff is expected to complete and can include training that staff need for succession planning strategies and the associated training requirements.
Finally, the matrix also enables a greater level of support to practices, which, if used effectively, can lead to enhanced collaboration. Take the majority of practices that are members of a primary care network (PCN), for example. Wider staff training sessions could be planned and delivered across practices, enhancing the relationships across the PCN. This would mean that all staff get an opportunity to receive training efficiently and within the recommended timescales, and that their skillsets would always be up to date.
In an era of Covid, where guidance is constantly changing, this is an ideal way to keep staff and patients safe. Furthermore, mandatory training will be discussed in our latest QCS General Practice Podcast, which provides GP practices with the latest expert insights.