Health and Social Care Task Group

The Health and Social Care Task Group had its first meeting in January 2020 with the following membership:

  • Skills for Care
  • East Sussex College Group
  • University of Brighton
  • Independent training providers
  • NHS
  • Independent care providers
  • Health Education England
  • Adult Social Care, East Sussex County Council
  • Representatives of the clinical commissioning groups (CCG) – Sussex Transformation Partnerships.

In November 2021, the group agreed to join forces with other groups and become pan-Sussex. We even have some regular attendees from Kent and Surrey. The group was initially jointly chaired by Jayne Thwaites of NHS Sussex Health and Care Partnership and Karen Stevens of Skills for Care.  Jayne left the NHS in 2022, and Karen stepped down as chair due to other commitments at the end of March 2023.

The group are reviewing the frequency of meetings pending a new chair/co-chairs. 

Due to the size and geography of the group, meetings are held online via MS Teams. 

Task group update Spring/Summer 2023

  • East Sussex College Group (ESCG) responded to demand in developing an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course specifically for workers in health and care. 
  • NHS Sussex Commissioners are looking to do more with apprenticeships. They have eight apprenticeships studying to Level 3 with East Sussex College Group. University of Brighton Level 5 Nursing Associate apprenticeship is continuing. 
  • The East Sussex NHS Training Hub is also developing apprenticeships
  • Integrated Care Board (ICB). for Sussex published its violence prevention and reduction strategy, possibly unique to this ICB.
  • A joint presentation was given by the universities of Brighton and Chichester on Nursing Associate programmes. A task group sub-group have worked with providers on making these courses more attractive and accessible, particularly to those with level 2 maths and English but not GCSEs. 
  • The MILE (Managers Investing in Leadership Excellence) website was demonstrated to the group. This was a joint project funded through East Sussex and West Sussex registered care associations.
  • Careers East Sussex (CES) are working with the NHS and Adult Social Care to develop a series of job roles videos. These will appear on the Health and Social Care section of the CES website. Watch that space for updates. 

Health and Social Care Task Group meetings

The Health and Social Care Task Group was meeting virtually every month. There was no meeting in May 2023  as this fell on the same day as the East Sussex Skills Summit. Nor was there a June meeting due to Secretariat and Chair availability. 

Contact Skills East Sussex  if you are a sector employer, training or education provider and want details. Other than your time, and occasional travel, there are no costs to joining Skills East Sussex meetings.  

If you wish to see minutes of a meeting not listed, please please email Skills East Sussex and we will do our best to help.

Priorities for 2021 to 2023

The remit of the overall task group is to join up the work being undertaken by the NHS Commissioning Groups, bodies such as local Health Education England, NHS Sussex Workforce, Skills for Care and other Health and Social Care groups to promote careers in the sector. 

Revitalising recruitment and supporting retention are vital to this incredibly important sector. Supportive training and career development help retain staff. Social care is particularly significant due to the age of the local population. Census 2021 shows us, East Sussex has the second highest proportion of those aged 85 or more.

On average during the peak of the pandemic, 40% of staff were off work due to illness or self-isolation. We have all been aware of the strikes in nursing and backlogs for treatment during 2022-23. There have been large numbers of vacancies in the sector but much is being done to address concerns and the NHS remains an attractive employer, and the social care sector continues to provide excellent opportunities for progression. 

A gradual return to face-to-face training and new delivery methods for training began in 2021. Staffing challenges also mean that it can be difficult to find time to release staff for training. Digital skills and extended clinical skills training is still required across the NHS and upskilling so that technology can support and enhance jobs and the patient experience is a key priority. 

The task group agreed in 2020-21 to promote the following roles:

  • Staff nurse
  • Family support and care worker
  • Technicians: sonographers, radiographers, occupational therapist
  • Social worker.

The pandemic and industrial action has delayed this work. but it is going ahead in collaboration with the NHS, Healthcare Trusts and Adult Social Care.