skills development network

About Overview

The National Health Service (NHS)

The NHS was launched in 1948 based on the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.  With the exception of some charges such as prescriptions, the NHS in England remains free at the point of use for all UK residents.  Currently the NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours.

Funding for the NHS comes directly from taxation. When the NHS was first launched the budget was £437 million (roughly £15 billion at today’s value); in 2017/18, the overall NHS budget was around £125 billion.

The NHS employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces, together with the US Department of Defence, McDonalds, Walmart and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.  Further information on the workforce can be found in the NHS Employers infographic.

More information about the NHS and its structure can be found on the NHS website; in the Resources section there is also a useful document entitled Understanding the New NHS and a short video How Does the NHS in England Work which may be helpful.

North West Skills Development Network (NWSDN)

In line with the NHS Constitution’s pledge to provide all staff with the right skills to develop excellent professionals enabling them to facilitate the delivery of excellent patient care, the NWSDN provides an innovative learning and development infrastructure which enables and supports continuing development of all Finance, Digital and Procurement staff in the NHS across the North West, a total workforce of around 8,700.

The NWSDN, hosted by Warrington & Halton Hospitals and funded by 75 North West health member organisations through a subscription, facilitates learning events, sharing of best practice and networking as well as offering apprenticeships and accreditation in addition to hosting five annual conferences and undertaking annual workforce profiling.

The NWSDN team comprises only 9 staff and further information about the work undertaken can be found in the latest Annual report (PDF 1mb)

Apprentices are required to undertake 20% off the job training whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification, either one day a week or block release (a number of days at a time); this may be undertaken on or off site at a training centre via a commercial training provider, local FE college or higher education institution.

Alongside the development of technical skills apprentices also gain highly valuable, transferable or soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.