Interview with Education for Health

Tell us about your organisation and how you got started?

Education for Health was founded by Greta Barnes in 1987 as the Asthma Training Centre in Stratford Upon Avon. She believed the route to improved asthma management (and the prevention of hospital admissions) lay in organised preventive care, personally tailored treatment and practical advice, combined with regular follow up and review.

In 2005 the name was changed to Education for Health with an expanded portfolio – to include all long term conditions. We now offer a wide range of education and training programmes in conditions such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, leadership, general practice nursing, cardiovascular disease, ethical issues and more.

Tell us about your team

    Our head office team includes customer services, NHS liaison, strategic partnerships, education, training, and eLearning development. We have recently added a new dimension – an Innovations Unit, offering direct support to the health system. We also have a nationwide network of trainers who work in clinical practice. Our alumni are part of our team too: many people who come to us for education and training are sent to us by people who trained with us in the past.

    What accreditations do you hold?

    Education for Health works with a range of accrediting institutions to ensure our courses are both relevant and of high quality.

    Education for Health Level 5 and Level 6 modules (Diploma and BSc) are validated by The Open University. Modules run at Level 7 (MSc) are validated by the University of Hertfordshire.

    Professional accreditation is provided by a range of other institutions e.g workshops accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

    Who is your target audience?

    We are best known for educating primary care nurses and healthcare assistants, however we are increasingly expanding this to pharmacists, GPs, nurses in secondary care (particularly on our Level 7 modules), healthcare support workers and practice managers. Additionally we provide a range of free eLearning mostly aimed at healthcare professionals but also including the general public. For example, our Supporting Childrens Health free online resource is a public access site with content developed by expert health professionals in consultation with teachers, sports coaches and children’s activity leaders. Anyone who uses the resource will gain the knowledge and confidence to support children with asthma, deal with emergency situations and could help save lives.

    What are your areas of specialism?

    Our areas of specialism include respiratory, cardiovascular, diabetes, end of life, long term conditions management, and leadership skills. Of equal importance is our ability to helping clinicians fit their studying around work and family life by taking modules over a number of years and building up to a Diploma, Degree, Graduate Certificate or even a Masters with us, validated by our university partners.

    What are your most popular courses?

    Historically, our most popular course is our Asthma Level 5 module, known by many as their “Asthma Diploma”. Every time we are at an event, we can

    be certain someone will bring a newly qualified nurse to us and say you need to do your Asthma Diploma with them, like I did!

    Building on this strong tradition we have broadened our portfolio to include a wide range of Long Term Conditions. Popular courses include our Diabetes Level 6 module, and COPD, Spirometry and Heart Failure at Levels 5 and 6. Our MSc modules are growing in popularity as more senior nurses seek to specialise and deepen their understanding of specific conditions through education.

    What areas do you service?

    Due to our strong network of trainers across the UK, we can offer our training anywhere – and we do mean anywhere as only last week we had a Diabetes workshop in Shetland! We also regularly train at our HQ in Warwick plus regional centres in London, Liverpool and Stirling. If an education commissioner has at least 15 people they want to study a course, we will take the study days to them. This means they can use their own training facilities saving on staff time and expenses. In addition, much of our education is delivered by eLearning, so while our study days support overall learning, they are generally only one or two days in a six month period.

    What do you see as the biggest struggles that your clients are facing from a training point of view?

    For individuals, funding can be a challenge. Although we are a charity and keep our costs as low as possible, funding can still be a barrier. We have a funding page on our website where we include any information that can help with this. Additionally, we work with a range of pharmaceutical companies to offer bursaries where possible. We share news of these through our mailing list – and in 2016, £132.5k worth of bursaries were accessed by students.

    Our work with education commissioners to deliver courses in local areas really helps; the commissioners procure the course enabling the student to focus on their learning. That’s not to say it’s easy for commissioners as training budgets are squeezed, but we work with them to ensure they are getting maximum benefit from their investment with us.

    What’s the biggest challenge that you face right now?

      Understanding the ever-evolving market. While it may be a challenge, it is also part of the excitement as we find new and interesting ways to support the NHS by providing training, education and support. Our new Innovations Unit will bring a new dimension to this work; we are really looking forward to seeing how this evolves.

      How do you ensure quality standards in the training you deliver?

        All our learning materials are rigorously quality assured both independently and through our partner institutions – The Open University and the University of Hertfordshire.

        Additionally, many of our workshops are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners. This enables our students to trust us to deliver relevant and high quality training.

        Useful Links

        Explore the Education for Health courses. 

        Visit the Education for Health website. 

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