New partnership with EduQual

eduqual_logo_high_quality-7.cropHospital theatre access course rolled out

HC Skills International have welcomed the decision by awarding body EduQual to recognise the need for qualifications in the face of demands by hospitals that external workers entering clinical areas are properly qualified.

As the NHS comes under increasing pressure to protect patients and ensure that visiting contractors, such as employees of medical device companies, are able to legally and professionally justify their presence in surgically sensitive departments, EduQual have supported the Advanced Professional Award in Access to Operating Theatres, which is delivered by HC Skills International.

The qualification – a professional award, set at Level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and Level 5 on the European Qualifications Framework – is credit-rated by education providers the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The course covers problem-based learning, practical clinical sessions and legal implications, as well as an assessment phase related to practical skills, a written multiple-choice theory paper and a risk-management exercise.

Its target audience is medical device industry personnel entering, assisting and providing verbal/technical assistance within clinical areas, sometimes during surgical procedures.

Hospital credentialing – which has patient safety at its core and which is controlled through a central registration system for medical device and other external workers who are required to be present in clinical areas to provide technical or other expertise and support to medical staff – is an issue for all hospitals across the United Kingdom.

Validating every external individual who spends any amount of time in a hospital environment is becoming pivotal to providing safe, harm-free care.

In England, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has spoken of  “a moral motive for zero-harm healthcare”.

Shiona McKelvie, HC Skills clinical lead, said: “This is a significant raising of standards and awareness of the responsibilities of outside experts who are required to be present in patient-care areas in hospitals and it marks a milestone in the move by the NHS towards credentialing for medtech visitors.

“At the core of healthcare is patient safety, and anything that helps in achieving this, I am sure everyone would agree, is a good thing.

“To have an organisation such as EduQual sanctioning and backing HC Skills is a significant development in the regulation of the medtech industry who support medical staff during patient treatment.”

A spokesman for EduQual said: “This qualification will meet the needs of experienced senior practitioners and individuals who are not yet operationally competent in their chosen field.”

The new education programme has been recognised or endorsed by:

• Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), an Ofqual-recognised awarding organisation
• The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG)
• Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP)
• The British Anaesthetic and Respiratory Equipment Manufacturers Association (BAREMA)
• The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
• The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)

The main objectives are to:

• ORIENTATE the learner to accepted department protocols and best practice for those entering the operating theatre or working in the operating theatre environment. The content of the qualification is designed to provide the knowledge and skills which operating theatre management expect of medical device industry personnel entering and assisting with theatres
• MEET the requirements of medical devices industry personnel who are required as part of their employment to gain access to operating theatres
• MEET the needs of operating theatre management and their employers by ensuring that all who enter the operating theatre are competent in the principles of safe practice
• GIVE the person entering the operating theatre the necessary knowledge to map and develop their own area of expertise
• ORIENTATE the product specialist to the accepted operating theatre protocols and best practice, including National Association of Theatre Nurses (NATN) guidelines, for all healthcare industry personnel entering, working in or assisting in operating departments

Doctors, nurses and medical staff who are required to have therapeutic contact with patients are trained to clearly defined national standards and are governed by colleges and associations who set competencies and maintain standards.

Sales and support staff who work for medical technology companies – selling implants and technology to clinicians and providing technical support for the use of their products – may be required to be present in a clinical setting while patient-therapeutic or surgical procedures are being performed.

Although they may have been trained by their employers to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to support the use of their equipment, they may not understand all of the responsibilities expected of them by the hospital and the patient undergoing treatment within an acute clinical setting.

The HC Skills education centre delivers a range of externally validated, competence-based qualifications to the healthcare industry and medical profession, ensuring that those who work in a patient-facing setting have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure the optimal and safe delivery of services and products.

All their courses and qualifications are internationally recognised, compliance-driven and meet the legal requirements of hospitals and the medtech profession. They are fully accredited and validated and fulfil legal and regulatory requirements as well as meeting the criteria set by professional bodies and other stakeholders.

HC Skills work with some of the biggest and best-known companies and professional associations. From hospital theatre access to medical device regulations, procurement, ethical selling, promotion and orthopaedics, their courses set the standard in the healthcare industry.

The SCQF is managed by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Partnership, whose members include the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, College Development Network, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Universities Scotland.

The SQA operates across the UK and internationally to offer a wide range of high quality, internationally recognised qualifications, working with schools, colleges, universities and training organisations. It also awards a range of other qualifications, including customised awards to meet the needs of individual companies and organisations.

Please email Jane Bruce for further information or call Jane on +44 (0) 141 946 6482.

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