Some PCNs have offered protected time to complete the DES’ mandatory refresher training for ‘shared decision-making’ conversations for all clinical staff.
The training, announced as part of the 2022/23 Network DES to ensure staff are totally involving patients in all aspects of their care, must be completed by 30 September: next week.
Although the DES does not mandate PCNs ringfence time, some have chosen to do so to ensure the training is completed, meaning other training has had to be postponed.
GPs had previously branded the stipulation as a ‘waste of time’ and ‘really annoying’.
Dr Laura Mount, clinical director for Central and West Warrington PCN, said that her PCN has had to ringfence time this week to ensure the training is completed.
She said: ‘We have had to allocate time during out protected learning time afternoon next week as people are just too busy during the working week. This has meant that other training has had to be postponed.’
She added that this ‘has caused some frustration’.
Another PCN in Surrey has allocated protected time for the e-learning course, but insisted there was little or no resistance from staff.
Dr Seun Akande, clinical director for West of Waverley PCN, said: ‘We offered it as part of a PCN-wide protected learning time last month. We gave 30 to 40 minutes to attendees to do the online course, after various teaching sessions over the half day event.’
He added there was ‘no push back or complaints’ from clinical staff, stating ‘it’s good for patient care’.
Under the DES, PCNs must fulfil a number of service specifications, which includes personalised care, alongside CVD prevention and diagnosis, anticipatory care and tackling neighbourhood inequalities.
The DES said: ‘By 30 September 2022, a PCN must ensure all clinical staff complete the Personalised Care Institute’s 30-min e-learning refresher training for Shared Decision Making (SDM) conversations.’
Other PCNs did not allocate protected time for staff to complete the training, with some clinical directors noting that clinicians have already had ‘extensive training’ on shared decision-making.
Dr Sajid Nazir, clinical director at Viaduct PCN, said staff ‘would have to prove this in the form of examinations’.
He said: ‘It feels that a broad brush approach has been taken and I am not convinced that this adds any tangible new knowledge for these clinicians. It is also practically it is difficult to implement this in and amongst the myriad of mandatory training that clinicians are required to undertake to comply with CQC.’
And others criticised NHS England using the DES to mandate training exercises.
Dr Kieran Gilmartin, clinical director for Fareham and Portchester PCN, said: ‘It just shows how much rubbish is put into contracts, and not just the PCN DES but contracts in general in the NHS. Specifically, primary care is a big area where this is done.’
He said: ‘The learning took me about five minutes because it’s what we do every day, and it didn’t really teach me anything like so much e-learning that I, and a lot of my staff have to do.
‘It’s a tick-box exercise, and that’s part of the problem with the NHS. There’s so much tick-boxing that wastes time. And I’m sure if you added up the amount of time wasted on e-learning across the country, it would add up.’
Meanwhile, under the Government’s first-ever Women’s Health strategy, all new doctors will be required to complete mandatory women’s health training from 2024.